We’re spending less time outdoors than ever.
This generation of children are spending half as much time playing outside as the generation before.
It’s going to get even more difficult.
Our phones compete for and win our attention in numerous ways. And smart people are always thinking of new ways to grab our attention with the screens we own.
That makes it more challenging for nature to win our attention.
Maybe we shouldn’t push against our tendencies. Maybe we should find ways to spend time in nature while doing other things that we naturally want to do.
Here are a few ideas for doing just that…
#1. Spend On Shared Experiences, Not Things
Material things can provide short-term happiness. But spending money on shared experiences has proven to be the winning ticket for a happy life.
The good news for you if you’re looking to spend more time in nature is that you and those you share time with can benefit from shared experiences outdoors.
Instead of buying a family member a gift, identify something they enjoy doing outdoors and buy that experience for them. For example, perhaps your father loves golf. Instead of buying him a golf club, buy him a round of golf with you at a nearby favorite course.
If you’re the manager of a company, take some of the bonus pool money from this year and take the team white water rafting or on a pontoon ride on the nearby lake.
#2. Move Work Outdoors
Of all the things I’ve learned by reading business biographies one thing that has stood out is the number of successful people that have used walking meetings as part of their life.
Many of these walking meetings would occur outdoors. On a nearby path. In a next door park.
You can do this with all kinds of work situations. Take a meeting to the outside break area. Have that business lunch on the patio at the restaurant. Even take that important phone call outdoors.
#3. Exercise Outdoors
If you’re like many people you probably exercise. Probably in a gym.
There might be no better place to workout than outdoors. Gyms might provide what we see as standard workout equipment, but why walk on a treadmill when you can walk through the local park?
Why lift weights when you can walk through the park and spend time moving debris off the path and into the woods and off to the side?
Why do a pull-up on a standard steel bar when you can jump up to a tree branch and do a few reps?
Not only is exercising outdoors great for your health, it’s cheaper than a gym.
#4. Use Your Phone Outdoors
We’re addicted to our phones.
We can fight it. That might be a good idea.
But we can also accept that phones will be part of our lives for awhile and find ways to combine phone time with time outdoors.
One simple way would be to watch, read or listen to your phone out on the patio instead of on the couch. You may not have all your senses working on what’s going on around you in nature, but some of them will be paying attention.
You’re looking at the screen, but you can still listen to the nature around you. You can smell the smells. You can feel the winds. You can touch the grass.
#5. Eat Outdoors
Eating outdoors can be a great way to spend time in nature. We see it on TV all the time. It depends on the climate you’re in, but most of us could eat outdoors. Even if it’s a little chilly or a little rainy. Lots of patios have tables with umbrellas. Lots of patios have covers to help with shade and rain.
There are lots of ways to spend more time in nature. The key, I think, is to find ways to combine what we already do with our lives right now with nature. Don’t push against our natural tendencies. Embrace them and find ways to use our tendencies as a way to spend time in nature.
Hopefully these ideas can help you or at least help you come up with your own ways to spend more time in nature.