For anyone experiencing lockdown in the UK over the last few weeks, it’s been a lot trickier to enjoy exploring the great outdoors. So, to help you keep going, here are just a few more ideas which can help you to find ways to enjoy life outside as the daylight hours get shorter.
Have a happy “Hygge” time
Follow the “hygge” way, (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’), a word which basically means ‘cosiness.’ Hygge also promotes the ideas of finding solace in nature and outdoor activities, and most importantly, taking pleasure in the simple things in life. According to research, Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. So maybe the Danes’ embracing of all things “hygge ” is the secret? Follow the writings of Signe Johansen in her book “How to Hygge” or be inspired by this article on seven ways to bring hygge to your garden. Think cuddling up under cosy warm blankets, surrounded by winter flowering plants like violas or winter flowering honeysuckle on your patio and twinkling fairy lights and lanterns up above. Bliss!
Head to the biggest gym in the UK – outside!
The National Trust in partnership with the NHS has created a fantastic 31-day plan to help us get fitter. The best thing about it, is that it involves getting outside. As it promotes in the plan, just five minutes in the outdoor gym every day can lead to an immediate improvement in mood and self-esteem, as well as physical fitness, whilst burning up to 20% more calories. That’s got to be good news, considering the decadently calorific winter food available this season! Most of the activity ideas can be followed within the exercise rules of lockdown, and there are plenty of different types of exercises to try outside for different abilities. Just find yourself a green space, whether it’s your garden or a local park and get moving!
Festive ‘feelgood’ shopping
Following on from my last post, there is a multitude of charities and organisations linked to nature, wildlife and green spaces, many of whom have suffered from a lack of funding this year as the numbers of charity events and visitor numbers during COVID-19 restrictions have reduced. There are many Christmas shops online where you can support one of these charities and seek out some fabulous presents for your nearest and dearest. The National Trust for example, has a “Cottage Garden Den Kit” which is great for imaginative youngsters who want to experience the outdoors whatever the weather. Alternatively, you could inspire someone close to find up to 60 exciting outdoor adventures with the help of the “Great British Bucket List” on sale in its Christmas shop. Other charities such as English Heritage, WWT, and The World Wildlife Fund also have some super ideas for Christmas gifts.
Get creative with the kids!
Make a simple homemade bird feeder by following these instructions from the RSPB. Then hang it up and spend an afternoon bird watching. See if you can identify which birds come to visit by trying this garden bird quiz or try another of the wonderful outside activities for children of all ages from stargazing to making your own weather station by following this link. You could even design a garden scavenger hunt for any young explorer or get them to create their own, complete with clues to find the hidden treasure. If you fancy a free festive themed activity, try a hunt for the best Christmas outside decoration in your local neighbourhood. Many people have already started early with the decorations this year!
Whatever you choose, stay safe and enjoy the outdoors this season!
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(Cherry enjoying the simple pleasures in life….)