Your 15-minute GetOutside fix

Eli Bishop By Eli Bishop

Last month saw the launch of the new OS GetOutside Champions, yet it’s a strange time as we cannot get outside in the same way as normal. So, just how do we, as GetOutside Champions, inspire others to get outside safely during COVID-19? Here's 15 ideas to get you started.

Firstly, visit the GetOutside Inside Hub here or follow us on social media. For example, Rory Southworth has walked up Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, ran a half marathon, dunked in a wheelie bin and lead a virtual trek to Everest Base Camp - all from his home. Inspired by Rory, Lisa Wells has dusted down her 90’s exercise step and is walking her favourite Welsh mountains. David Mellor in the meantime has been entertaining us all with the home schooling of his children and their daily outdoor antics in the garden and all the Champions are talking about how they are keeping safe, staying alert and getting active in their own ways.

So there is lots out there to inspire and encourage us all to find different ways to keep active and still have outside time within the restrictions.

Eli reading
Sky
Eli lying on beach

For me the focus is on maintaining my mental health as well as my physical health. There is a great deal out there to cause us anxiety and stress so limiting social media and news time is paramount. But also, not all of us have access to beautiful rolling hills or picturesque beaches from our front door, many of us are in towns and cities. However we can all get outside in some form every day, and it doesn’t have to be much but it can be meaningful.

So here are 15 ideas that you might like to have a go at. Have a read, the key is to be fully engaged in the activity so maybe leave the phone to one side for 15 minutes. After all, only 15 minutes a day, spent soaking up the sunlight is proven to help mental health, so no excuses!

Have fun with it and share what you’re up to (after you've done it) on social media using #15Outside

If you don’t have access to a garden, balcony or local outdoor space, then sitting by an open window in the daylight will be just perfect!

1. Read

It could be a novel, a magazine, kindle, comic book but maybe not a newspaper as you want to switch off.

2. Lie and watch the sky

It's so simple. Lie down, or sit by the window and look up at the sky, watch the clouds, the birds flying and switch off.

3. Have a cuppa

Take your daily cuppa outside, turn the phone to silent and slowly sit, listen and chill

4. Do 15 minutes of stretches/yoga

There are lots of apps and online tutorials for Yoga and stretch exercises you can do, but rather than doing it inside head outdoors for 15 minutes with your mat. There's so many alternative outdoor workouts you could do, it can be as simple as Rory and Lisa and their step challenges, or download an app and follow a routine, just do it outside if you can!

5. Meditation & Mindfulness

Taking 15 minutes to sit and follow a guided meditation is a wonderful thing to do. Again there are lots of apps and online guided meditations that you can follow or just sit, comfortably. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking one of your favourite walks, or sat on a warm beach as the sea rolls in and out. Breathe in for the count of 8, hold, breathe out for the count of 10, hold and repeat.


Walking through wet grassland
Fire in garden
Getting close to nature

6. Nature watch

Wherever you are, in the garden, on the balcony, sat by the window we can start really looking and seeing what it out there. You could have a little notebook and record what you see each day. Be it birds, insects, different types of trees, plants.

7. Play I-Spy

A great one to do with the people you live with! If children find letters hard then play it using colours.

Building a den in the garden

8. Ride a bike

Yes this involves getting outside properly, but why not dust down the bike and go out for a ride? You never know you may fall in love with it all over again!

​9. Be a tourist in your own neighbourhood

When you go on your daily exercise why not walk around your neighbourhood and check in on some of the local sights that ordinarily pass you by. Are there any blue plaques near you? If so go find out why! You could combine this with some local history research and find out a bit more about where you live. Use the OS Maps Greenspaces layer to find local spaces you never knew existed - but go careful remember!

​10. Take in a sunset or sunrise

Such a lovely activity to do when the weather is on our side. Taking time to sit and watch as the sun rises or sets.

11. Picnic

Get baking, get cooking and then take it outside. Grab a blanket and have a picnic, there is no reason you can’t do this every day. Unless its raining of course!

​12. Plant seeds

Most supermarkets at the moment have some gardening stuff in store so maybe grab some packets and get planting. Really simple stuff that will see good results are pea shoots, salad leaves, spinach or get yourself a mini herb garden. Sunflowers and sweet peas are great with the kids.

Sitting outside

13. Fill a bowl and dunk your feet

This may sound mad but get a washing up bowl of water, take your socks off and sit with your feet splashing in the water. Water is proven to help relax you so why not! I mean who’s to see?

​14. Build a den

It isn’t just for kids you know! Build a den then have a picnic!

​16. Listen to music

Or enjoy a Silent Disco - pop your headphones on, get an awesome playlist on and dance!

Remember to leave the phone on silent - take a couple of snaps to upload later but no mindless scrolling during this time! And if you are setting out on a short local adventure be safe, keep your distance from others and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Published 27/04/2020

Eli Bishop By Eli Bishop

About:

Eli Bishop is happiest climbing mountains and paddling rivers for mental wellbeing.

Find out more about Eli Bishop here.

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