It is fair to say that I bang on about spending time outside a lot. I expend a lot of energy trying to encourage people to spend at least a little bit of time outside every day through my One Hour Outside campaign, work with Ordnance Survey as a GetOutside Champion, and use my social media to demonstrate that spending time outdoors is an excellent use of our time. But why? Why should we? What’s the point?
A rather greyed out view from St Catherine’s Hill, Winchester.
I don’t know about you, but I do struggle at this time of year. Between mid-November mid probably mid-February, when I have to get up in the dark, go to work in the dark, spend all day in a fluorescent lit office, come home in the dark and spend the evening indoors because it’s already dark outside, I find my mood and energy levels slump. I don’t know if it’s technically SAD or not, but it sure feels like it. It’s a real effort to get going in the mornings, and I rarely get motivated in the evenings to do anything other than eat and sit. Spending time outside in the daytime, making a habit of going out for a walk in my lunch break for example and making sure long journeys are broken up with something more than just a service station, is something of a life line.
A stomp to the top of St Catherine’s Hill at the end of a 200 mile drive was just what I needed.
The fact is that spending time outside, in the fresh air, in the natural light, is SO good for us. We need the natural chemicals to keep our bodies and minds functioning normally. The outdoors has other benefits for our stress levels, decision making, physical heath (as when we’re out we are generally moving more than when we are in), and mental wellbeing. And no, it doesn’t actually have to be sunny… it just has to be natural.
Looking for Winnie the Pooh.
Last Monday was, apparently, Blue Monday. I’m not totally sure of the origins, but something tells me that this is a day invented by the travel industry to encourage us to buy holidays to give us something to look forward to. Ugh, marketing! And so rather than giving in to the hype, although my mood was indeed blue thanks to tiredness and other stuff, I chose instead to take part in the Berghaus Silver Lining Sunday campaign. They (not at all ironically) sent me a fab blue coat to try out too, just in case I needed a little bit of extra purpose to get out and enjoy some fresh air.
— Berghaus (@TheRealBerghaus) January 14, 2018
No view from the summit? Who cares?!
The idea was very much in the same vein as their First Foot campaign at New Year; to spend time outside by way of doing something positive with our time and energy. In this case we were pre-empting Blue Monday by getting some time outside with family and friends, to help curb the feelings that might otherwise creep in if we were to believe the newspapers and advertisements that went on and on about how terrible sad we should be. It seemed to do the job, lots of people got involved, and my twitter feed was brimming full with encouraging stories of people who had made a conscious effort to spend time outside instead of giving into the Blue Monday vibes. Fabulous!
Being slightly silly helps, too.
The outdoors really is an amazing place; natural light, fresh air, space to think, feasts for the eyes, and pleasure for the soul. If you missed Silver Lining Sunday, don’t worry, you don’t really need a campaign to inspire you to spend time outdoors. If you don’t already spend a little bit of time outside every single day then that’s where to start; check out One Hour Outside, and find a whole host of great ideas from my fellow GetOutside Champions.
Bagging trig points is a good “reason” to go outside, if you need one.
I might be wearing my blue coat, the technical and wonderfully warm Women’s Extrem Micro Down Jacket by Berghaus, and the view might be a bit greyed out, but when I’m meandering through woodland or making my way along even the easiest of countryside footpaths, my mood is far from it.
Spending time in the outdoors is the perfect antidote to everything else. You should try it some time.
You can do some exercise. But you don’t have to!
Thanks to Berghaus for the fab new jacket, this isn’t a sponsored post but the coat was a gift – and I think you’ll be seeing a lot of this one in future photos! Head over to instagram to see what I get up to… And if you’re wondering, all photos in this post were taken at St Catherine’s Hill and Cheesefoot Head on my GoPro Hero 6 by shouting “GoPro, take photo” at it.