November is a notoriously cold, dark and damp month. Which is rubbish. Really rubbish. I mean, don’t get me wrong, November is a great month. I think it’s particularly excellent because it’s the month in which I celebrate my birthday. So you know, some might say it’s the best month of them all! But birthday celebrations aside, the position of November in the Gregorian calendar means that those of us here in the UK get short days, dark mornings and evenings, often poor – wet and windy – weather, and as a result can feel a little bit miserable.
In the spirit of going and doing something rather than wallowing in what the inevitable weather might have us feel, I’m bringing back my One Hour Outside challenge for November 2017, to encourage us all to spend a little bit of time outside every day and make more of our time this month.
We all know that getting outside is good for us. There are so many reasons why we should be making an effort to spend as much time outdoors as possible – fresh air and natural light is good for our body, our mind, and possibly most importantly, our soul. But how good are we at making sure we get time outdoors every day?
Even speaking as one of this year’s Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champions, I don’t always manage to spend more than a handful of minutes without a roof over my head in each 24 hour period. It’s hard, thanks to the dark, damp, cold, and endless list of things to do that involve being sat at a computer.
One Hour Outside (#OneHourOutside) is my idea / challenge / campaign to get you outside more – quite simply, for one hour every day. I want to encourage people to spend a little bit of time outside, in the fresh air and natural light, on a daily basis. Yes, whatever the weather.
We spend so much time underneath a ceiling that closes out the sky. With walls around us where you can’t smell what’s outside, where the breeze is kept from touching us. You might not even know if it is day or if it is night. And it’s good to have shelter, it’s good to have a roof. But by never allowing the sky to be our cover we are missing out. We should be outside, beyond the walls, where we can smell, feel, hear, and touch the real world.
So, your challenge, no, your mission (should you choose to accept it…) is very simple:
Spend at least One Hour Outside every day in November.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? I’ve run this challenge three times now and I can tell you that some days it will be way harder than any of us would like it to be. Which is why I think it deserves the commitment of a month long challenge.
The One Hour Outside Challenge
One Hour Outside is about spending at least One Hour Outside every day in November.
While some of you may already find this super easy thanks to your line of work or the fact your dog insists on really long walks each day, the vast majority of people have to actually make a conscious decision to go out, and it’s often easier to not bother. This challenge asks you to bother.
I don’t mind what you do in your hour – walk, run, cycle, skateboard, rush around town running errands (but time in shops doesn’t count of course), go geocaching, climb trees, chase butterflies (someone tell me if they are around at this time of year?!), get out on a lake in a boat, go fishing, sit and drink a flask of tea while your kids play in the park, sleep under the stars, or anything else that takes your fancy. There are SO many activities to choose from,
But remember there is no storing of time. We won’t be spending seven hours outside on a Saturday on a hike in the countryside and then doing nothing for the next six days. Do that full day hike at the weekend by all means, that’s awesome, I certainly will be! But it’s still only one day ticked off. Think that’s mean? I don’t think so.
I’d love it if you were to use this challenge as an opportunity to make a habit of getting outside every single day. Do it at lunchtime, do it on your commute (or your reverse commute if you work at home), go for a walk after dinner in the evening, or maybe you’re one of those people who can fit your hour in before breakfast (you’re mad!). It doesn’t matter. As long as by the time you slide under the duvet each night you can answer that important question “did you spend an hour outside today?” with a positive YES.
You’ve even got a few days to work out how you’re going to fit One Hour Outside in every day as it’s not November until next week. Put a few fun things in the diary, make a list of things you’d quite like to do or places you’d like to go (there are some useful ideas here), have a look at your local OS Map and get a few lunch time walking routes planned, and get yourself prepared and ready.
Let’s make November our month of the outside, and see what a difference it makes to our body, mind and soul. Let’s turn what could be a dark and difficult month into one full of fresh air, clear heads and lots of energy.
And because we know that if you agree to a challenge in a public space you have to do it, comment below to let me know you’re in, or give me a shout over on twitter. Let’s spread the word and make getting outside normal again, more of a habit and less of an occasion. I’ll do my best to encourage you throughout November if you promise to encourage me to!
Let’s change our November from dark and damp to being full of outdoors fun. One hour at a time!