For one reason or another, many of us don’t spend much time enjoying the outdoors.
Some of us work odd hours while others are preoccupied by life or family obligations. Many of us also live in areas where the climate is uncomfortable in some way or another for most of the year.
But while summers can be sweltering, autumns can be blustery, and winters can be freezing, most everyone can agree springtime is when the weather is at its most agreeable. Luckily for us, spring is almost here.
Spring is the best time to start spending more time outside, as we all ought to, not only because time spent outdoors is healthy and peaceful, but also because we should be taking advantage of something that’s completely (and naturally) free.
However, we as humans love to overcomplicate things. Many among us may think it’s harder to enjoy the outdoors because, in practice, it will cost some sum of money to do so.
But if you know the right way of going about it, you can enjoy nature in its natural state.
A Journey to Your Own Backyard
Many people are under the impression they need to get themselves all the way to a national park to truly experience nature, because anything too close to civilization is somehow inauthentic.
While visiting a large nature preserve is a wonderful experience we’d recommend, all you really need to do to enjoy nature is to step outside of your house and stay outside. You don’t need to have a huge travel budget when the outdoors is just outside your door.
Many things you would do in a large state or national park can be done in local parks, forest preserves, around your neighborhood or even in your own backyard.
Ride your bike on a local pathway or trail or set up a tent and camp behind your house. Want to go for a hike, but there are no forest preserves around? You can give “urban hiking” a go, complete with backpacks, boots and walking sticks.
Or you can just go for a walk in a comfortable pair of shoes. You might think you know the streets of your neighborhood well until you wander them on foot.
Your local park district doesn’t just give you access to a green space for free. They also host many programs and events which are free or low-cost.
These can range from sports leagues (they’re not just for kids) to outdoor movies and can be a great way to spend time with friends and family while enjoying the fresh air and meeting new people.
Many municipalities also offer community gardens, where you can get a plot to plant flowers or food for about as much as a Netflix subscription.
Even if you aren’t interested in having a garden plot of your own, the community garden might be a nice spot to walk by as you’re exploring your neighborhood.
I’m certain the gardeners will appreciate your admiration of their handiwork.
Think Outside the House
Finally, just consider what you do inside that you can do outside. These can be passive activities like reading a book or taking a nap on the porch, or more active activities like moving your workout regimen to your yard.
This is especially good for things like meditation or yoga, where the sunshine and moving air can make you feel more grounded in nature. Also don’t neglect trying a nice classic barbecue or picnic with your family and friends.
Really, depending on how much you have already been exposed to nature and how much more you want to experience of it, you could stand to just soak in every moment that you spend outside.
If you find yourself leading a very indoor life, try to unplug for a moment each time you leave your house.
If you can, walk to work or school or the store, try to notice something that’s always been there but you’ve just never noticed before, like a tree branch that bends at a funny angle or a really long blade of grass that always escapes the lawnmower, or even a cool-looking crack in the sidewalk.
Take a second to look at the clouds or stare at the night sky. For all we know, you might find all of this extremely boring and double down on an indoor life. But you may never know unless you give it a try.
There’s a whole other world out there, and you get free access to it every time you walk out the door.
Now let’s just hope it isn’t raining… and that the pollen count isn’t too high.