How many hours a day do you spend outside? They have a saying in Sweden – I lived there for three years – “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
It’s so easy to come up with excuses about not being outside: the mosquitoes, the wind, the rain, the snow, the cold, the heat, the gnats, the noise of the neighbor’s mower etc etc etc. The thing is, fresh air does so much for our minds and bodies, we should be thankful it’s freely available.
I love this blog that challenges families to spend 1,000 hours outside each year. I’ll spare you the math… That comes to two or three hours every day. What do you think? Is it doable? I think we were doing that already, but not consciously and, maybe, not every day.
Since we took the challenge, we have been outside even in the rain and even when I had a sore throat. The kids put on their rain boots and coats and ran around in the rain. I allowed them to play with umbrellas – which are usually off limits for them. I sat under the roof overhang, on a comfortable outdoor chair, with a wet cotton sock covered by a wool pashmina around my neck (natural remedy against sore throats).
My son pulled himself up and down our backyard hill on a rope we tied to a tree. He took me on a walk later on, when I felt a bit better. We sat in this wooded area on our property, in the rain. That’s what rain jackets are made for. He told me about this day when he and his friends sat there and made up a song. I would have never known about that moment in my son’s life, had I not taken the time to be outside with him.
Since then, we have eaten more meals outside, we have gone to the playground more, and we have read more outside. We even played card memory games outside. The kids always find something to play with. I either bring a book or my laptop or a broom. Our porch and garage need sweeping almost daily what with all the catkins and pollen.
One day I said, “Let’s go climb trees.” Our neighborhood has an area with a couple of benches and several trees with lower branches. The kids loved it. They said we should picnic there next time.
So take the challenge. Breathe fresh air for three hours daily and see what difference it makes.