Creating connections through the outdoors.

Enjoyment

Rain, rain, it’s here to stay

It has been pouring rain a lot at work, and I do work outdoors, so I will share an inspirational quote on the topic:

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~Unknown~

Photo: Jennifer Tippett

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And the survey says…

So I want to be healthy and happy.  What do I need to do?  I should start by eating healthy.  Ok, to do that, I need to avoid processed foods, fast food, foods with lots of sugar, red meat, some types of fish, and saturated fat.  Well maybe I don’t need to avoid saturated fat if it comes from certain sources.  Wait a minute, my diet should be low in carbs, high in protein, and vegetarian, no vegan, but I can have meat once a week and fish is ok.  Is it?  I can’t eat too much fish now because it is being overfished.  Before I forget, I can treat myself to the occasional “junk food”.  Is this going to cause me to lose weight?  What if I want to gain weight?  I am supposed to eat more meat now, and include superfoods (What is the effect of Kryptonite on these?).  Should all of this be organic or local?  It should be both, but if I need to choose local is better than organic for the planet, and organic is better for my body.  Now I also need to make sure I drink lots of water and for best physical performance I should calculate how much I need based on a number of factors.  Diuretics are bad, but coffee and tea are good.  Ok, I have my diet figured out, I think.  Oh, I can also drink alcohol because it will make me smarter.  However, I can only drink so much.  Red wine is the best, but other kinds of alcohol are good too.  Isn’t alcohol also a diuretic?  This one is for sure, I shouldn’t smoke and I should exercise regularly.  I need to reduce the amount of time I spend sitting, take at least 5000 steps a day and exercise for at least 30 minutes.  I also need to spend time relaxing and not doing anything.  Now, to be happy I should have a bucket list, not compare myself to others, and have a job that is fulfilling and challenging.  I can’t work too much though, but I should work until I am 67 years old.  I should quit my current job and do something that I enjoy.  No I shouldn’t.  I enjoy what I do, mostly, and it allows me to do what I enjoy to do.  I need a routine, or is it that I need to be spontaneous?  Too much technology is bad, I need to disconnect, but it is also good to stay connected, to help reduce stress.  I can also use it as a tool for work and learning.  Now what I also need to do…

THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!  I’m going to just do what I enjoy: Go outside, live a balanced lifestyle and treat myself accordingly.

Trying to follow all of the studies that come out these days can cause us a great deal of extra stress and worry.  They are also always changing and new ones are coming out every day.  I can’t keep them straight and why should I try to?  Life is more enjoyable when I just live with balance.  April is stress awareness month, so do something you enjoy and don’t worry if you treat yourself occasionally.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.  Studies are not all bad.  They give us insight into things we may have forgotten along the way.  However, they are not to be relied on.  I do know this for sure and have done my own study to prove this: The outdoors is good for me.  How do I know?  Going outside helps me relax, keeps me active and is enjoyable.

This weeks idea:  Do your own study.  Go outside, treat yourself and relax.  See how it makes you feel.  As with any study, write down your results and share them with others.  This should be the only study that you follow (The following video has some pretty good advice too)!


Relax, Just do it!

April is Stress Awareness Month and this past Monday, April 16 was Stress Awareness Day.  Since I am working everyday this week (I do work outside!) and don’t want to stress about writing, I am just going to give you this one link:

10 Health Benefits of Relaxation

The post on Stats and Studies will come next Wednesday, April 25!


The Grass is Always Greener…

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  Other people seem to have it all slightly better than we do.  The future seems to hold the fitter me, the healthier me, the more successful me, the me that doesn’t procrastinate, the me that keeps in touch, the better me.  Do you think the grass is greener over there?  I say to try to focus on making our own grass greener here and now!  How is that for a nature metaphor for you?!  Yay, for multiple meanings!

What I am trying to say through all of this talk about the lawn, as it may seem, is that enjoyment comes from living in the here and now.  My thoughts stemmed from an article on multitasking.  When we try to do too many things at once, it takes away from our relationships, health, focus, work or school, and most importantly our overall enjoyment of what we are doing.  Even what may seem like the most mundane of tasks can be enjoyable if is becomes our sole focus.  This movement away from multitasking can lead us to focus on our own grass, and how we can make it greener.

This past Saturday was the National Day of Unplugging for 2012, used to recharge your soul.  This is a small step to take to help to focus on enjoyment here and now as well as help to create balance.  This is a great idea, but I say take it one step further.  It is better to regularly take a little time to unplug every day and try just focussing on one thing at a time.  Call it “uni-tasking”.  An easy way to do this is to go out and experience nature and the outdoors.  Leave all those gadgets at home and see how enjoyable just being outside looking at the environment around us can be.  Here are my top 7 (I thought I would continue with that number) outdoor “uni-tasks” that I do to make my grass greener here and now:

  1. Do some “soul skiing” by going for a day by myself (no music here);
  2. Practice some nature/outdoor photography or drawing (I’m not very good, but it is enjoyable);
  3. Bomb a hill on my longboard;
  4. Do some gardening;
  5. Climb a mountain, a rock face, a hill, a tree, or anything I can possibly jump off;
  6. Find a quiet spot to read or journal;
  7. Simply go for a walk without my phone.

Increased enjoyment can lead to multiple benefits, including making time for nature and your health easier.  The opposite is true as well.  Physical activity and time in nature can increase happiness and enjoyment.  Here is a short video on Physical Literacy, that can be linked to awareness (more in “Forest Bathing”), about physical activity and the outdoors.  In the end, if we can create enjoyment here and now, it can help to increase the needed balance in our lives.

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Why does all this nature matter?  For those of you who like to read, here is a brief interview with author Richard Louv for you on the subject:

Why Nature Matters, Juno Magazine

This coming Saturday, March 31 at 8:30PM is Earth Hour.  Remember to turn off your lights.  Utilize this time to spend some time in nature.  Go for a walk or even just a sit in the outdoors, and practice some “uni-tasking”.  Maybe even spend some time to do some nighttime gardening and work on your lawn!  Do whatever you find most enjoyable.

The idea for this week: Instead of suggesting something, I want to hear from you!  What do you do to make the grass greener in the here and now?  How and where do you like to enjoy the outdoors?  Comment below!

(Theme: Enjoyment)