When I first set out to start the 21-Day Recharge a few weeks ago, I thought it would be easy. If you're not familiar, the basic crux of the recharge is to spend time outside every single day for 21 days. Seems simple enough, right?
The catch is that the outside time has to be done in a purposeful way — so walking the dog real quick or going to check the mail doesn't count. The 21-Day Recharge is meant to push you.
It definitely challenged me, and for two main reasons. First of all, I had less-than-ideal weather, with about half of the days being rainy, windy or even snowy. (Gotta love Wisconsin in spring.) The second and more difficult thing to overcome was simply finding the time.
You probably know what I'm talking about. Life is busy! With a job, kids and about a dozen different commitments at any given time, it's always hard to find time for anything extra. Yet I'm so, so glad I did.
For years, I've preached about the importance of nature and outside time for kids. But it was eye-opening and powerful for me to experience this myself. Here are some of the things I learned during my 21 days outside:
1. Nature is good for the soul
It just is. You can't explain why or how exactly, but being in nature lifts the spirit.
2. You're happier
This is especially true when it's nice out. A little sunshine and vitamin D can go a long way in making you perk up for the day.
3. It makes you more active
When you go outside, it naturally gets you moving more. It encourages you to go biking, hiking, running or just walking.
4. You eat better
When you're getting out and being active, it starts to positively affect other aspects of your life, too — like your eating habits.
5. It clears your mind
It's an amazing form of meditation. Just a short walk in the morning or after dinner is often just what you need to decompress.
6. The dog benefits
If you have dogs, they will reap the rewards when you go outside, too. In fact, they will love it!
7. It gets kids moving
Similar to the benefits your dog receives, your kids will also benefit. When you're going outside, they are, too.
8. It brings families together
For my own family, we took turns choosing where to go or what to do outside. It really brought us closer together, and it was a ton of fun!
9. You pay attention to the world around you
When you go outside in nature, you start noticing things that you never paid attention to before. Embrace this.
10. You'll even notice more things right in your own backyard
Whether you have a big backyard or live in a city, you will start to see things that have been right there all along! You just didn't see them before.
11. It makes you take a break from electronics
We're so attached to our electronics, but it's good to put them aside from time to time. You know that whole "clears the mind" thing (no. 5)? Yeah, it's good for that, too.
12. It helps you be a good influence on others
When friends, family and others see you get outside, it encourages them to head outside, too.
13. It makes you appreciate birds
No matter where you are when you go outside, you'll always find birds. They're comforting, reliable and you'll soon look forward to them every time you go out.
14. It gives you more energy
You might feel like you don't have enough energy to go for a quick hike at the end of the day, but try it. When you do, it will give you a boost.
15. You start to find beauty everywhere you look
You'll start seeing sunrises, sunsets, flowers and other beautiful details.
16. You always have something to look forward to
When you go outside on a regular basis, you'll always be looking ahead.
17. It makes you smarter
So when you start to notice things you never saw before, it makes you naturally curious. In turn, it makes you more inquisitive and able to learn more about the world around you.
18. It reduces stress
Try going outside after a stressful day. Then see how you feel when you get back. Chances are, you'll feel better.
19. It's fun
Yep, it's true. When you get outside and really get involved, it's fun. Whether you're getting your hands dirty in the soil or hiking a mountain, you'll have a blast!
20. You get out what you put in
The more you get outside and the longer you're there, the more you'll get out of the experience.
21. It doesn't take that much time
Even a short walk of five minutes or quick trip off the beaten path can do the trick.