Inspired by the 1000 Hours Outside Movement, my son and I started one of their fun tracker coloring sheets to see just how much time we spend outside. We had a great start in January and February (thanks to a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Palm Springs and a planned snowboard trip to celebrate our son's first birthday), a very spotty March and April (thanks to a less fun, and an unplanned string of sickness), and now in May, we are in great shape as we enter the summer months!
If you are unfamiliar with this, I highly recommend you check out their website but essentially the goal is to spend 1000 hours a year outside. If that sounds like a lot, it's because it is! But when it is broken down, I am also a little surprised by how small these chunks of time are.
To achieve 1000 hours outside it averages out to the following:
January: 1 hour/day. For a total of 31 hours for the month.
February: 1 hour/day. For a total of 28 hours for the month.
March: 2 hours/day. For a total of 62 hours for the month.
April: 2 hours/day. For a total of 60 hours for the month.
May: 3 hours/day. For a total of 93 hours for the month.
June: 4 hours/day. For a total of 120 hours for the month.
July: 5 hours/day. For a total of 155 hours for the month.
August: 5 hours/day. For a total of 155 hours for the month.
September: 4 hours/day. For a total of 120 hours for the month.
October: 3 hours/day. For a total of 93 hours for the month.
November: 2 hours/day. For a total of 60 hours for the month.
December: 1 hours/day. For a total of 31 hours for the month.
For a total of 1008 hours outside!
For someone who works in an office full time maybe this seems impossible. But here are some examples of outdoor activities that would take a big bite out of the totals:
* Snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing could easily take 3-8 hours
* Our dog gets us outside every day. Dog walks and parks take 1-2 hours/day
* Winter festivals like the Minneapolis Kite Festival - about 4 hours
* Camping trips outside 24/7. One three-day camping trip is 72 hours!
* Working outside! Work-work, yard work, or taking projects outside
Other shifts to get outside more: biking to work, eating outside, backyard fire instead of TV watching, send an afternoon reading a book in a hammock, plan events with friends in outdoor spaces, travel to warmer climates when it is cold, have a fire in the winter, open air markets/shopping… there are so many possibilities to get outside. It really just comes down to priority.
The benefits of spending time in nature are unlimited - so it is one of my goals for the year. I am also using it more as a gentle reminder, a tool to encourage me, and as a focus for the year. I also want to teach my son that weather isn’t something to be afraid of or that it is “bad” but that we can go outside and play at the park if it is raining. We can bundle up and get sweaty adding layer after layer to only go outside for 20 minutes in the winter. We can head to the woods or the water when it is hotter than heck. We can embrace all of the seasons and experience everything that Mother Nature has to offer.