Spend More Time Outside

Bumblebees hum while

cows low in a distant field

and I pick berries.

I woke up on this Tuesday fall morning with a stiff back and a million things on my to-do list. I had spent too much time sitting in the last two days: nearly eight hours of lesson planning on Sunday, driving four hours to Pembroke early Monday morning, sitting some more to write a newsletter after I’d finished teaching for the day. 29 drafts of blog posts sat in my WordPress dashboard and a 30th I had handwritten last night over dinner, a chunk of my book to write, a new lesson to plan. I had a lot to tackle today (yeah – not all of that is getting done today. I’m not delusional) and I wanted to tackle it all RIGHT NOW.

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Call it procrastination or call it self-care: I spent 45 minutes in the gardens of my Ottawa Valley hosts picking tomatoes and raspberries to bring home to Toronto. It inspired me to change one of the categories I write about from “Outdoor Adventure” to “Outdoors”. If I want you to “Spend More Time Outside” as my tagline suggests, it doesn’t matter to me how you decide to get out and do it.

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I may have fallen into the social media trap that every outdoor experience has to be an adventure. We see a lot of that these days especially on Facebook and Instagram. Yes, I get a longer-lasting mental benefit from spending consecutive days in the backcountry, in wilderness.  The physical benefit of me actively working the garden this morning – only 45 minutes – loosened up my back, relaxed my shoulders, and elevated my already good mood. That isn’t something to be discounted.

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So get out and enjoy the beautiful bounties of fall with me. I will share more of my efforts to spend time outside, particularly from the city. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, try Richard Louv’s Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to Nature-Rich Life or The Big Book of Nature Activities by Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman. Both are family-friendly.

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