"Even if you fail, you win." - Ginny Yurich

1000 hours outside... The premise is just that, be outside with your children, partner, family, etc. and have quality time with no screens. Now, screens for us isn't as hard because we only allow tv Friday-Sunday unless certain things come up and I will happily give in to tv time (I am human). We just bought our first iPad and the kiddos earn time to use it on the weekend by earning "responsibility bucks". This makes me sound like I have my sh&t together, I DO NOT, I fail at this at least twice a week, but I do TRY to stick by this. Now, back to the 1000 hours outside... I was all for this idea and I still am, but when I started at the beginning of January I would count every minute and as a recovering counter (ie. obsessed with calories and weight [which I failed at because of being human again] and being a recovering perfectionist) this didn't go over well. So, I started rounding out the half hours and hours, making guesstimates when needed. I don't obsess so much about the amount of time outside, but just the getting outside. I also found out that the person who created this whole concept is a stay at home mom of several children and she homeschools them, so there does afford a LOT more time to be outside whether it be when they are learning. I think she lives in a colder climate, so that could put a bit of a damper on her outside time, but I do like the reminder to get outside more for us.

So, how many hours have we accumulated in January? 56.5 HOURS

Now, here's the thing, I work from home and on my own schedule. Being a business owner is hard work and allocating the amount of time I NEED to work with how much I actually get done is hard, but I do make sure that when I am with my kids... I'm with my kids. This isn't always easy, but I try my hardest, and once again, I am human, so I do have to throw on the tv to get some work done on occasion. I do have the luxury of picking up my children from school and heading outside to play, watching them from the kitchen window while I cook dinner all before it gets dark, which it does very early in January. So, if you would love to attempt 1000 hours, but you know it's almost impossible because of you work hours, don't count how many hours, just get outside more when you can! Star gaze, eat dinner outside when it's warmer, take an evening walk that you wouldn't have taken.

Are we going to make it to 1000? Not a clue, but here are some thoughts from January:

  1. We do love to be outside. We could play in our ugly backyard for hours. I sit on our porch swing and read while the girls play in the dirt with trucks and the dog. I have a garden that I love to pick at and my youngest loves to find worms to put in the garden. We enjoy bird watching, we live by a bird sanctuary, so we get a lot of overhead visitors, and we have books to compare what we see. We have planted trees in our yard to bring birds to us and the trees are finally sturdy enough for tree climbing after 7 years of growth. We love hiking at the nature preserves around Charlotte on the weekends and we have found a new love of geocaching, it is SO MUCH FUN! So, getting outside is something we look forward to even more now that we have challenged ourselves and it is becoming more "normal".
  2. We live in North Carolina, meaning, our winters are mild. We have had more rain than normal, but on most regular rainy days, it will rain and then the sun will be out. When it is cold, it is also warm because the sun can melt the cold away easily, so we have that advantage of the weather.
  3. We have a child that is neurodivergent and being outside more has increased her ability to self regulate. When we have days that we are inside more, we can see the difference. Also, our girls love to fight... inside, but when we are outside, there is a world of difference in their behavior towards one another.
  4. We count their recess time. You better believe I will count school sports time outside too, lol. I do an average of what the girls have had at their own schools and count that towards the hours for the day.
  5. My husband and I have felt so much better. We both usually get very down from the winter time blues, but being outside so much has helped improve our "down-ness" (well, nature and lexapro for me, like I said... HUMAN).
  6. Random Note... at the beginning of the month, before the recycling took our real Christmas tree, it became my children's favorite toy in the backyard for the week. They would carry it around and set it up against the fence, pretending they were selling it or were tree farmers. The pine smell was strong in our yard and it was lovely. We look forward to it again next year.

So, this is our journey so far. It is working for our family. I've let go of a lot of everyday stress on "if I got things done" and "should I being something else instead" ("never should on yourself") and have realized that when we are outside together, we are doing the right thing for us.

An Australian Shepherd standing outside
Two little girls carrying around a pine tree for creative play in their backyard
young girl with heart sunglasses and rainbow around her in Charlotte
young girl stands on large rock with blue winter hat in Charlotte NC nature preserve