Get Outside: The 100 hour Outside Challenge

Living in Colorado, I am outside a lot. Probably more than most. The mentality of those who have transplanted from other areas of the country seems to be: live to get outside. And we are of the same mind-set. So when I saw the post in Minimalism and your money, it struck a major chord. Especially because I’ve been contemplating, feeling guilty, and totally admitting something to myself. I have a horrible habit, one I need to break. Yes, I am a Netflix binge-watcher. And the only way I know I will be successful with cutting back to a healthy dose is to occupy my time elsewhere. I am a sucker for a good challenge, as I do find them useful in upholding a good habit and keeping myself accountable. If you blog it, it’s so. I’ve created food challengespre-surgery challenges that again incorporate food, challenges that keep you moving forward in a positive direction, Yoga challenges fueled by plants and other Yoga challenges that I partnered with friends with….needles to say, I like the commitment and external accountability.

So breaking down the challenge, I have to spend an average of 3 hours outside each day. When I sat and thought about my day though, that seems a bit challenging. Work takes up the majority, I’m an early riser, but also go to bed early, typically sleeping for 8 hours at a minimum. But, it also made me look realistically at my day, the amount of time I was wasting on the internet, watching Netflix, being unfocused. I took a hard look at the times I did grab my phone to scroll twitter or Instagram, looking at this time suck activity as robbing me of my outside time. And that made me want to restructure how I set my day up.

(Doing some porch yoga after a stressful day)

The to-do lists go on and on, but the key to making sure you get to the truly important things? Prioritize! There are professional projects and tasks I need to move forward, everyday, in my day job. There are personal things I want to get done everyday that help  as well as life things that need to happen in order for me to function (eat healthy food, do wash occasionally, shower occasionally, feed the dogs, grocery shop) and these all need to be prioritized or none of them get done. In looking at this new challenge, I had to come to the realization that wasting time in the ways I had been, won’t be an option if I wanted to accomplish this goal: 100 hours outside in the month of May.

(Rainy weather? No excuses! Get Outside!)

When you choose one thing, something inevitably goes away. In this situation, that was a good thing! By choosing to spend more time outside, I was opting for less tv, less scrolling and less wasted time, due to the fact that I am committing to being outside more. By prioritizing outside time, it’s helped me front-load my day so that I got everything I needed to get done in the beginning of my day, re-think how I’m using my down time and think about my time differently. Being outside, whether it’s doing physical activity, enjoying one of Colorado’s many mountains or trails, or enjoying the oasis Mike has created in the backyard, these are truly the things that make me the most happy. So why wouldn’t I be planning my day around them?

A recent article about Millennial Burnout talks about the importance of carving out alone time and switching off technology, two things I am in much agreement with. And the physical and mental benefits of being outside are plentiful, especially if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, squirrely. A recent post I wrote outlined what I do instead of complaining and literally picking up and going outside is the most effective way, I have found, to remove myself from negative energy.  So this challenge has all of the goodness I seek!

I’ve told a few close friends about the challenge, so we’ve started a spreadsheet to keep track of our hours, plus I’m using Strava to track my mileage. External accountability helps me stick with things, plus it’s fun to see how far and often I’m out and about. I’m posting this because I think this challenge is an amazing way to not only spend more time in the beautiful, great outdoors, but a way in which I prioritize and think about my time, so I make sure I’m spending as much of it as possible doing what I love.

How are you getting outside??

Thankful for Movement

Happy post-Thanksgiving! My holiday was spent in Moab, Utah with Mike, my mom, sister, brother-in law, niece, nephew, cousin and cousin in law. There was a whole crew of us! We spent our days hiking in Arches National Park, seeing gorgeous natural wonders, magnificent arches, babbling creeks, and huge boulders and jagged rocks. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and feel so incredibly blessed to have gone to experience it with almost my entire family. There’s nothing like fresh air, family and natural wonders to make a holiday glorious. Our traditional annual Thanksgiving hike landed us at the Delicate Arch – talk about being thankful!

Moab

Unfortunately, a horrible tooth infection kept me down for the count for a good 30+ hours following the hike…coming to the Thanksgiving table for only a brief moment to gingerly nibble on some sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry and cauliflower before heading back to bed. After a trip to the ER the next morning, a dose of antibiotics, and some kombucha to combat the antibiotics screwing with my gut flora, I was on the mend. Our last day, yesterday, arrived and I was feeling so much better, ready to step outside and get a bit of dirt under my feet. My mom and I headed out and ended up hiking two glorious trails, each quite different from the next, both full of incredible sights.

So Day 14 of the Mindful 21 Day challenge has arrived and we are on our way home. An early start to the day hasn’t left time for meditation yet, but I have reflected on the past few days. Being with family is wonderful, but can be challenging if you share different viewpoints on things, have different habits or styles of doing things. That is where mindfulness becomes so crucial. Being mindful of how your actions, words, and behaviors effect those around you becomes so apparent when you’re in close quarters. It’s during these times when taking pause and breathing deeply can make a huge difference. And getting out into the great outdoors, turning off the ipods, video games, tv, means quality time spent in nature.

Family

Tomorrow, Day 15 of the Mindful 21 Day challenge, adds onto the 5 minutes of meditation and meatless meal with movement. Being mindful of our internal state, taking time to calm and center yourself is, I believe, vital for your happy. Taking a proactive approach to what you’re eating and being mindful of how it’s fueling your body is vital to your health. Incorporating movement into your life, feeling the fluidity of your body, adds vitality, energy, longevity to your life. Being mindful of moving your body each day should be a priority – and what better what to move than yoga!

sun salutation

Tomorrow, find time for meditation, a meatless meal, plus movement. Try a 5-10 minute yoga flow or, 10 sun salutations or even splurge and head to the studio. I recently joined Yogaglo, something my girlfriend and cohost Sarah introduced me to, and I am in love! Pick the duration, the teacher, the focus, the body part, the level and do it in the comfort of your own home.

I have some short Yoga videos on my YouTube channel, but there are also a million great FREE Yoga videos out there that will get you moving. Here’s one describing how to do a Sun Salutation. Try something that speaks to you and will work with your practice.

How will you move? Let me know what gets you up and flowing.

Happy movement!

Early morning in Colorado: snow & yoga!

It’s Day 2 of the #thankfulforvacation challenge and I actually got my butt out of bed for an early morning workout! Last night, I spent a good 10 minutes before bed with some breathing exercises, focusing on how thankful I felt for our upcoming trip, the awesome dinner we had (I made a sweet potato & tofu curry over spinach) and the happy we both feel. If you’ve never sat with your breath this way, I highly recommend it. I slept like a baby!

Day 2: Early Morning Yoga & Snow in Colorado

And awoke to Day 2, ready to get after it! Greeted with the dim light of a snowy November morning (yup, it’s snowing here!), I headed downstairs to my ‘studio’ and did a 25 minute workout to get the blood flowing.

Getting up early isn’t a problem for me usually, however hopping up and working out? Ummmm, yeah. No. I’m really pumped about this challenge, as it’s motivating me to really push myself for the next two weeks.

I’m uploading my short videos onto YouTube if you’re interested in joining in the challenge with me. My goal is to post workouts that you can do, videos about what I’m eating/cooking, and mindful exercises you can participate in to really hone in on the thankful. Tune in, set some goals & push yourself for the next two weeks!

Happy Tuesday!