As Bonfire night explosions end with a final sizzle, the next thing on people’s minds is usually the beginning of winter and preparations for the festive season ahead. What’s been added to the mix this year is Covid-19, and it’s thrown us rather off kilter with our prewinter preparations. Whether it’s a national lockdown like in Wales, Northern Ireland or England or a set of local restrictions like in Scotland, things have certainly become very different for us, as the nights draw in and the evenings get a little chillier.
The good news is that even with restrictions in place, you can still go outdoors and enjoy life outside, as long as it’s done safely. Even if the weather isn’t great which, let’s be honest, tends to happen even more at this time of year, you can still find ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some tips for enjoying life outside at this time of year.
According to the NHS, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions and exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stress, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. What’s more studies have shown that green exercise, which basically means exercising or interacting with nature on a daily basis, has been shown to improve mental health by reducing stress, anxiety and depression. So, what’s stopping you? Grab an early morning run, go for a bike ride or take the dog out for a longer stroll than normal. Just make sure you wear easy to spot, (high visibility) clothes and stick to well-lit routes if it’s starting to get dark outside. You can also follow these safety tips if you plan on taking exercise when the lights go out.
If you’re stuck inside and need inspiration, why not try some films relating to the great outdoors or travel films such as “Wild” or “Our Planet?” Try this list of outdoor films on Netflix for more inspiration. On YouTube too, there is plenty of outdoor escapism. Try this list of the top travel vloggers in 2020 to whet your appetite. If you’re planning a new adventure abroad next year or beyond with your caravan, camper or motorhome, watch some of these videos from leisure vehicle vloggers to give you an idea about where to go or how to travel. There’s a whole world of videos out there for you to watch. Enjoy!
Give back to nature
Support a local wildlife charity or a national charity which helps nature like the National Trust, RSPB or local Wildlife Trust. You can even combine your love of the outdoors and prepare for Christmas by buying a few presents too. Have a look at the Wildlife Trust Christmas shop where you can view the fantastic selection of gifts and wildlife-themed goodies on offer which also raise funds for nature. From “make your own 3D animals” to native wildflower bee bombs, there are plenty of amazing presents to choose from, as well as animal themed clothes and even virtual Christmas presents to help you. It’s lovely to know that by buying some of these gifts, you are investing in the protection of wildlife and nature for years to come.
Immerse yourself in a good book
Try reading an outdoor or travel inspired book to help you to plan your new adventure. I’m currently absorbed in a true story called “The Salt Path,” a biography of the journey which Raynor Winn and her husband made along the 630 mile of the South West Coast after finding out about a serious illness five days after the couple became homeless. There are plenty of other inspiring reads out there for adventure lovers, outside enthusiasts or anyone who just loves a good read. Try one of these books to get you started.
Watch the birdie!
The chirping of birdsong features as one of the most popular mood boosting sounds to help people recover from stress according to research from the University of Surrey It’s great news then, that most of the UK’s RSPB nature reserves remain open for everyone to enjoy as winter approaches. Have a look at the RSPB website before setting off, for the latest updates. At the moment and in line with guidance from the governments of the UK, many nature reserves, car parks, trails and toilets remain open for the public to visit. In countries which are not subject to national lockdown restrictions, hides, visitor centres, shops and cafés may also be open where possible. Remember though, to follow guidance from the relevant country on non-essential travel and please stay local to your nearest reserves and green spaces where advised.
Whichever outside experience you decide to choose, stay safe and look after yourselves!
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