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.

A young woman laughs with a dandelion The outdoors can do wonders for your mood. (Photo: Nikita Vishneveckiy/Shutterstock)

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.

A man sits near a waterfall with a dog Dogs like to experience nature just as much as their human companions do. (Photo: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock)

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!

A woman sits in a grassy field while looking around Being out in nature won't heighten your senses, but you will start to look more closely at the world around you. (Photo: mimagephotography/Shutterstock)

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.

A bird eats some seeds out of a human's hand Birds are among the most common creatures you'll notice when you head into nature. (Photo: mycteria/Shutterstock)

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.

A woman walks with a bicycle through a park When you're done hanging out in nature for the day, you can look forward to visiting again very soon. (Photo: cristovao/Shutterstock)

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.

Father and son fly a kite in a grassy field Go a fly a kite. No, really. Get outside and fly a kite. (Photo: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock)

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.

21 things I learned by going outside every day
Stacy Tornio knows that nature can improve your life, so she spent 21 days getting more of it — and here's what she learned.