Hunkering down and waiting for the dark and chilly winter season to pass sounds pretty nice. But the reality is, if we deprive ourselves of time outside, we do ourselves a big disservice both mentally and physically. Staying indoors all day affects your energy and mood, which makes it hard to get anything done, so here are four easy tips to make it easier to get a little fresh air.
1. MAKE IT A PRIORITY. Getting outside means making the conscious effort to do so. If you want to reap its benefits, you have to decide to make it a priority in your day-to-day schedule. If you make the act important to you, you have more motivation to actually do it.
2. USE MORNINGS EFFECTIVELY. Waking up and getting the day started can be hard. But studies have shown that natural light helps decrease your melatonin production, which means you feel ready to face the day sooner. So, set yourself a second alarm to head outside and take a quick walk around the block just after waking. Don’t even wash your face or grab coffee. Just get out there.
3. TAKE YOUR WORK OUTSIDE. If you’re working from home, take some work outdoors. Phone and virtual meetings are a great outdoor option, especially if you’ll just be an active listener and aren’t required to do any work simultaneously. Attach a note to your meeting reminders to get yourself set up outside five minutes before you start.
4. CREATE A SCHEDULE. It might feel strange to set reminders throughout the day to step outside, but you easily get wrapped up in activities and overlook breaks, and these reminders are exactly what you need. Start with 10-minute blocks three times a day. If you stick to them, soon you won’t need a schedule to get outside anymore.
Winter weather may be cold, but even when you’re bundled up under a jacket and scarf, just 5–10 minutes outside can do wonders for your mood and energy for hours.