15, January 2024
Get Outdoors this January
In January, the temptation to stay cossetted indoors is often difficult to resist – but it’s no secret that time spent in Nature can give our wellbeing a much-need boost. So, fill a flask with your favourite hot drink, wrap up warm and escape your home this month – and relish the benefits that being in Nature can bring.
Make the Most of the Light
Natural light is really good for us: it boosts vitamin D, helps keep sleep patterns regular, and can help with our mental health. But although the winter solstice has passed and brighter days are coming, daylight is still in short supply in January. Make the most of the natural light available by opening curtains or blinds when you get up. January sunlight can start to fade by mid-afternoon, so head outside in the morning to take in as much of it as you can. If it happens to be one of those bright, sunny, crisp mornings, put on sunscreen and sunglasses and enjoy the joyous feeling of the sun on your face. Spring is just weeks away!
Join Others – And Make a Difference
Organised walks and conservation activities are great ways to get outside, meet new people and potentially give Nature a helping hand.
Training for a sponsored hike or trek is an excellent incentive to start walking more. WWF have just announced their schedule of sponsored challenges for 2024 in some of the UK’s most stunning locations - more info here. And the Time Outdoors website is packed with information on everything from sponsored challenges to clubs and groups.
If that’s not your thing, you could combine getting outside with doing your bit for the planet by volunteering with a local Nature group. From litter picks to woodland management, there are so many ways you can help. Finding your local branch of The Conservation Volunteers or The Wildlife Trusts is a great place to start, as is taking a look at our blog post on how to take action for rivers.
Find your Nearest Green (or Blue!) Space
Not everyone is lucky enough to have rolling hills or rugged coastlines on their doorstep. If you live in a city, the idea of getting outside can seem less enticing than it might do if you call the countryside home. But Nature is surprising, and often thrives in the most unlikely of places. Obviously, you can walk around your local park, but look at a map and you might just find a hidden patch of woodland, a pond or river that you didn’t even know about.
Nature is so much more enjoyable (and beneficial) when you take the time to notice the little details. So, if you’re going on a walk by yourself, leave your headphones at home and open your ears to the wonderful sounds of the natural world. Head to your nearest riverbank or stream to hear the soothing sound of running water, or take to the woods or park and count how many different types of birdsong you can hear. January is a fitting time to begin a Nature journal, making notes about the natural environment close to you and how it changes with the seasons. If you don’t fancy writing with cold or gloved hands, use a phone or camera to take pictures of the beautiful things you see: frost patterns on the ground, long shadows, glimpses of wildlife. That way, you can enjoy taking notes or making sketches of your findings when you get home. Read more on our blog: Nature Journalling for Mindfulness. And when you do get home, light a candle, cosy up and bask in the afterglow of having spent time in the great outdoors.