Less Screen Time, More Green Time:
5 Easy Tips to Spend More Time Outdoors
Most of us don't need reminding of the benefits and appeal of being outside on a gorgeous spring day. From childhood memories of playing outside to the latest research on forest bathing and ecotherapy, we know time spent in nature is good for mind and body. But, what many of us don't know is how we'll possibly find time in already packed days to actually spend more time outdoors. Here are a few suggestions on how we can.
Take your 'office' outside
Working at home or corporate HQ, think about what you could do outdoors instead of at your desk. Take your laptop to your balcony or backyard or the company's outdoor space, even if it's just to check email. Make a meeting a walk. Have breaks or lunch outside. Even a quick coffee run gives you a few precious minutes of fresh air. Brainstorm on a bench - on your own or with a colleague. You may be surprised by how a new venue can spark new ideas.
Change up plans with family and friends
For quick catch-ups, regular gatherings or taking care of loved ones, suggest a change from the norm. Schedule a walk instead of a phone call, meet the group at an outdoor café, or maybe just sit in the park or on the porch instead of in the living room for a change. It will do everyone good, especially the people in our lives who due to health, work or other demands, might not otherwise get themselves outside.
Run errands locally
Instead of your usual trip to the big box stores or the mall, walk (or run) to shops in your neighbourhood or near the office. While you're getting outdoor time and your chores done, you're also doing good for the environment and the small businesses you support. It's a healthy habit for all concerned.
Take care of your kids (or your own inner child) with more time outside
Do homework or storytime outside. Make dinner a picnic, even on weeknights. Help everyone decompress before with quiet time outdoors. Teens are spending up to 7 hours a day on screens, which has been linked to a higher likelihood of depression and anxiety. Trade screen time for green time. Leave devices behind; watch the birds, the breeze in the trees and the sunset instead.
Make outside time routine
Schedule standing commitments with yourself and others. It's all too easy to reach the end of the day before the end of the to-do list and promise ourselves, yet again, that we'll do it 'tomorrow'. You don't have to take the whole day off for an epic hike. Research shows stress-hormone levels drop significantly after just 15 minutes sitting outdoors. That's why a park prescription is one worth filling.
Thinking of others ... How fortunate are we to live in beautiful Canada where time outdoors is possible and safe. Our thoughts are with all people in the areas of the world where that's not the case.