Finding Joy in the Winter Months

I love winter. Before you start the hate mail, I know winter is not for everyone, but when you live in New England we are blessed with this season for at least four to five months so why not find ways to enjoy it. I love hiking in the winter, the cold provides a refreshing crispness to the air along with magnificent views you do not get during other seasons. I love waterfalls, even though I can’t swim in them, frozen waterfalls are amazing. Not as many people hike in the winter providing solitude. I enjoy skating around a frozen pond, sledding down a hill, cross country skiing through the forest and down hills. As well as snowshoeing into the woods and finding a place to heat up a lunch.

nB7XDSg9TmK1Er9lQKFg7A.jpg

I recently took to to my Facebook Page asking my followers their biggest struggle with getting outside. They have some great responses along with some that I also struggle with. Below are my recommendations based on some of the responses of how to get outside and enjoy the winter months.

Dressing for the weather: This is a struggle for many people, they hate being cold and we can get some cold weather. I love hiking and being outside in the winter, but it can sometimes be a struggle to figure out what to wear. It has been a lot of trial and error when figuring out the right gear. Below is a list of what I normally where when I am hiking.

  • Base Layer-long underwear or such as Under Armor

  • Second Layer is a thicker long sleeve shirt and my hiking pants

  • Footwear- Darn Tough Socks and Salomon Hiking Boots. I wear my hiking boots year round.

  • Final Layer- is a vest, or jacket shell a hat or head band and gloves.

  • No cotton as it retains sweat.

  • Extras: Microspikes and hiking poles for the icy trails. The last couple years the trails have been very icy. This is when microspikes and poles come in very handy.

fullsizeoutput_332.jpeg

I am rarely cold when hiking and can always adjust layers as needed. I do not like hiking in a bulky jacket as I feel it is confining. Layering can also work for kids it will keep them warm, without having them feel to confined. This is something you will have to play around with for adults and children to find your best combinations.

IMG_3807.jpg

Keeping it Fun and Motivating
Now that you know how to dress, how to do motivate yourself to get outside as well as keeping the kids motivated. There are some mornings or days that I am not in the mood to put on all that gear and go outside in the cold or even dark. Below are some ways that help me stay motivated.

+%ij5E9aQFGGMg8YHslN7A.jpg
  • Join a Group Hike: Having the accountability to go outside helps. As the leader of the Hike Like a Woman Monadnock Group having a group hike keeps me accountable to go outside. Yes there are somedays I wish I did not have a group hike, but once I get out there I overall feel better and glad I went. Other local groups are at Beaver Brook and Harris Center.

  • Grab a Friend: If groups are not your thing grab a friend or a family member to join you on an outdoor activity. This is great especially for kids because they do so much better with other kids around. I have a couple friends I can count on to join me for an outdoor activity which holds me accountable to get some outside time.

  • Join a Challenge: There are many outdoor challenges that help motivate me. Read my blog post Outdoor Challenges for 2019 for some ideas.

  • Keep it fun: Grab a sled and hit a local hill, head to a local cross country ski center and rent cross country skis or snow shoes. Grab some snow markers and make designs in the snow. These keep my daughter busy for a while. Explore your backyard or local pack. Find a trail, bring a snack, a hot drink and look for animal tracks, build a fort or our favorite is to find a spot off the trail and set up our single burner camping stove and cook some hot dogs and heat up some hot chocolate. At night grab a headlight and walk to a space where there is open sky and look out. The stars seem brighter on the colder winter nights.

Testing our fire building skills in an abandoned fireplace.

Testing our fire building skills in an abandoned fireplace.

Time, Where Does it Go?

Time, this is a big challenge for many people, even me. Our society has become a schedule disaster. Before we know it is the end of the day or the end of the weekend and we were not able to get outside like we hoped. How can this change?

I recently had a change in jobs providing me more time during the day which meant taking a look at my scheduling making sure I did not overload it.

First, sit and write down why being outside is important for you. Mine are the following:

  • Exercise

  • A great way to unwind

  • Increases energy

  • Decreases screen time

  • A great way to spend time as a family.

  • Helps me find new ideas for my website, not a great reason, but we are being honest, right.

Next grab your calendar and write down your typical schedule for the week. Below is a sample of my weekly schedule.

IMG_0346.jpg

Obviously our schedule changes at times, but this is an average week for us. We have allowed our daughter to do just one activity at a time. With some extra time in my day, I agreed to add on art lessons. Yoga is my me time. Mot every hour is filled and our weekends are fairly open. I leave Sunday’s empty for my hiking group, family time and prep for the week. In the evening we have time to be outside. This time of year it may mean the use of headlights, but we still get out a couple times a week. Look at your schedule is there anything you can give up?

3EPozXMtTiagvfR3LWlS9g.jpg

I did not write errands/grocery shopping down. We live in a rural area and I am lucky enough to work in a bigger town and have an hour lunch break. I do all my errands then and order my groceries from Hannaford To Go, such a life saver. We use to spend most Saturday’s running around and I hated it. I’m glad I have been able to give that up.

lLyK2gZ3TPeoy0dnL07jDQ.jpg

Now that you have looked at your schedule was there anything you were able to rid of or consolidate? Were you able to find more time? I have felt more free by not having such a packed schedule and my daughter has enjoyed more down time. If you need to schedule in outside time, go ahead. I strongly believe once you start increasing your time outside you will reap all the benefits and notice a difference in yourself and your children.

Get dressed, planned and activity and head outside. Hey you may even start enjoying winter .

Hx9UhpL9QeqxbXpXbIeQKw.jpg

Disclaimer: These are my opinions please use to best fit your situation. If you have health issues always consult your provider before engaging in exercise. This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small amount of compensation at no cost to you.