Winterized Outdoor Activities – Time Well Spent

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While technically speaking, winter JUST arrived, my cravings for hearty warm meals and a comfy blanket next to a fire has already hit me like a ton bricks.

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For some odd reason, my mind refuses to believe that I HAND-SELECTED a cold-weather climate to live in. I despise the cold weather.  I get cabin fever just thinking about the upcoming winter months.  Funny enough, each year it seems that the cold weather isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  One reason is that I started making an effort to spend time outdoors. And believe me, it was an EFFORT.  Here are a few great reasons to make a conscious choice to get outside during the brisker months of the year:

  • Spending time outside is a great way to cure the winter blues.
  • Outdoor activity increased energy levels, which tend to lag during cold and gloomy weather.
  • Outdoor exercise builds a stronger immune system which leaves you more capable of fighting off that winter bug.
  • Outdoor activity helps to keep your body toned and ready for the summer months.
  • Outdoor activity boosts creativity.

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Of course that is all good to know, but how do you build up the motivation and desire to tackle the cold weather? Try it, and then try it again, and try it once more.  The simple task of giving it a try will actually have a marked improvement on your mood and energy level.  When something makes me feel good, I tend to do it again.

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One thing that also helped me was to create a reason to go outside. I like going out for a walk around 3 or 4 pm when I am craving a cup of caffeine (but my mind knows better than to cave).  A brisk walking meeting, conference call or even an earlier walk after lunch helps to liven me up again.  We also try to schedule one (longer) nature-based activity as a family per week.  We try to look for activities that we can all look forward to doing together. Whether hiking the nature trails around a lake, doing a nature scavenger hunt or riding bikes along the Hudson River we spend a few solid hours breathing fresh air.

If on property at The Lodge at Woodloch, schedule a guided hike and follow it up with a Blues Be Gone massage or Deep Forest Ritual Body Treatment followed by time in the outdoor horizon whirlpool.

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Our new Forest Bathing in Winter program will be starting this January. The class will share realistic ways to continue to “bathe” in nature by cleansing your body from the inside, out by spending slow, deliberate and quality time with Mother Earth.  One great piece of advice is to find a sit spot that is realistic.  My back porch is surrounded by white pine trees and is protected from the noise on the street.  I know that there is always a dry spot to sit.  I find that the more I sit there (especially when it is so quiet and cold outside), the more I notice about the simple things in nature.  Two love birds who return to the same spot at the same time each day, the secret stash of acorns near a tree stump for a little furry critter and a stark red cardinal who seems to reign the southeast corner of our property.  My presence has become a fixture and they act as if I am not even there.

A few things that I always like to bring along are: extra layers, hats, gloves, scarves and a thermos of a warm drink.

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If you are thinking of what to add to your list of resolutions, why not something that is attainable, simple and good for you? Now, gear up and get out there!