Sunday, 24 January 2010
Guest Post by mamaTRUE
Today, I went and sat on the deck outside my mom’s house and read under the big New Mexico sky. Rather than lying on the couch, I took my normally “inside” activity out.
Especially in the wintertime, when it’s so easy for me to get in the habit of staying in the house and out of the cold, I forget how good being outside is for my outlook and mental health. It is definitely an act of self care.
If it’s chilly or overcast, I really need to go on a walk or do some other physical activity to keep myself warm, but on those reprieve from winter days, even though I don’t have weeding or watering to do in my garden, it is still necessary for me to be under the sky and in nature for a decent chunk of time.
If I just tell myself I should go outside because it will make me feel better, I am apt to stay out there five minutes or less. They may be mindful minutes in which I really notice what’s blooming or how the dead winter plants create the bones of the garden even in the middle of January. Maybe I’ll take the time to listen to birds and squirrels twittering or gaze at the reach of tree branches shadowing the yard. The more likely scenario is that I feel impatient while I wait for the chore of being outside to be over.
So I’ve experimented with ways to be outside for a longer period so I can get the full benefits of sunlight. I’m just not a sit down and meditate or otherwise be still and peaceful kind of person, though I aspire to it. Instead of sitting outside and beating myself up for not liking it more, here are some activities that have allowed me to enjoy my time outside and spend at least 20 – 30 minutes in sunlight instead of artificial light.
- Check email, submit poems, or write a blog post on my laptop at a table in our backyard.
- Crochet outside while Cavanaugh plays in the sandbox or runs around.
- Take the phone out into the yard and walk around while I talk.
- Read a book at a table, in the hammock, or in one of the Adirondack chairs.
- Drink a latte and examine one of my gardens, maybe even making a task list for once it’s gardening weather again.
Do you get stuck inside too? Have you found ways of getting yourself outside your four walls and under a big sky?