Are you ready to claim November as your most outdoorsy month of 2023? My One Hour Outside Challenge returns next month – an opportunity for you to make spending a little bit of time outside every day a purposeful habit. It’s my ninth year of asking (this thing started in November 2015!), but in case you don’t know the drill, let me explain…
Defeat the Damp Darkness
November is a notoriously cold, dark and damp month. 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. As a result, it’s very easy to feel, well, just a little bit miserable. Whether or not you suffer from SAD, it’s very easy to let that dark and damp seep in.
Add to that the fact that the world we’re living in seems to be falling apart in no insignificant way, and you would be completely forgiven for wanting to hibernate between layers of fleece blanket in front of the television for the next few weeks.
I mean, I wouldn’t mind that. But…
In the spirit of going and doing something positive rather than wallowing in what the inevitable weather might have us feel, my One Hour Outside challenge returns for November 2023, to encourage us all to spend a little bit of time outside every day and make more of our time this month.
Doing Something Positive
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?
One Hour Outside (#OneHourOutside) is my project / idea / challenge / campaign (whatever you care to call it) to get you outside more. 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.
Your challenge, no, your mission (should you choose to accept it…) is very simple:
Spend at least One Hour Outside every day in November.
It sounds very easy. But I can tell you from experience 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.
Your One Hour Outside Challenge
To join in with the challenge, all you have to do is commit to – try to – spend One Hour Outside every day in November.
Some of you may already find this super easy thanks to your line of work or the fact your dog insists on going for a walk each day. But the vast majority of us will have to make a conscious decision to go out, and it’s often easier to not bother. This challenge asks you to bother.
It doesn’t matter what you do in your hour – walk, run, cycle, skateboard, run errands, go geocaching, climb trees, 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 (I could go on…), or anything else that takes your fancy. As I hope I demonstrated in my GetOutside Activity Challenge back in September 2019, there are SO many activities to choose from.
A Daily Habit
The only rule I set is you should get outside every day; with no stocking up or banking your time at the weekend to “use up” in the week. Honestly and genuinely aim for one hour outside each new day. This isn’t about 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, by all means – I am hoping to get in at least a couple during the month, but it’s still only one day ticked off.
If a whole hour is too much, then do less, but I can’t stress the daily element of this enough. Research shows even 15 mins outside can have a positive impact. But an hour is the magic number for me, as it combines the benefits of fresh air and natural light with getting an actual break from the daily grind – and we could all do with that.
Do it at lunchtime, do it on your commute, 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. It doesn’t matter. As long as by the time you slide under the duvet each night you can answer that important question “did I get outside today?” with a positive yes.
You’ve got a little over a week to work out how you’re going to fit One Hour Outside in every day as it’s not November just yet. Put a few fun things in the diary, arrange to meet up with friends, 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 (start here, the greenspaces layer is free to all) to plan a few lunch time walking routes, 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. Turn what is often 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 drop me a message over on instagram. 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!
I’ll be posting some trackers over on my instagram stories in the next few days – be sure to grab one of those to use yourself.
And if you really want to commit, you can even buy the t-shirt (or jumper…) – get one now to wear to show you are taking part, or treat yourself at the end of November when you’ve smashed the challenge.