Life goes by quickly and unfortunately that lesson can only be learned by those who have already seen it sprint by in world-record time. There are countless articles online from wise souls encouraging us to do better than they did, to enjoy now, to laugh more and to (try to) work less. So, why doesn’t any of it seem to sink in? Maybe we're distracted by the dreamy glow of our phones lighting up with that all important message we've been waiting for. Or maybe our ability to think so far into the future stops us from living in the present and valuing what we already have. So, what’s the solution? Delete social media, stop worrying about the future and get outside… easy, right? Apparently not. It turns out that inspirational pages and picture perfect lives on instagram can be pretty unmotivating, who knew!?
Somewhere along the way we forgot what it meant to be human and we did it on such a vast scale that we didn’t even notice there was anything wrong with it. We began to let computers live for us and forgot how it felt to be outside, but this technology had an unintended side effect - it allowed us to share our emotions on a platform we never had before. With a wave of discontent people connecting with thousands of others, we finally realised there's more to life than screen-time. You know what they say, the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem, and there is no doubt that we're doing that. The frustrating thing is, we still seem to be in that awkward head space of knowing we need to do something but not quite doing it.
So, if you need more convincing to get outside, or you’re just along for the motivational ride, we’re going to delve into the great outdoors and why it is so important to invest more time in nature.
Why it's good for you...
Torres del Paine National Park
Whether you choose to believe the studies or not, there is no denying that feeling of happiness when you breathe in fresh mountain air, or the feeling of your worries disappearing as you gaze up into the mysterious night sky.… we could go on, but one more undeniable fact is the increase in illnesses like depression and the decline in general health levels. Sure, the population has grown and many 'new' illnesses were not diagnosed until we gave them a name – but we can absolutely measure the impact that more time outdoors has on our well-being.
Without going into the technical ins and outs of scientific research, here are some health benefits that multiple studies have come to agreement on...
Being outdoors reduces stress – get out of the city and check out those green spaces and star gazing hot spots! (We're lucky, New Zealand is full of these).
It improves mental fatigue – so if you’re struggling to tell the difference between the salt shaker and the sugar pot in your office, the oh so potent taste of that salty coffee should bring you to you senses and get you out of the door.
Outdoor adventures help to fight anxiety and depression – two things that have been on the increase at astronomical levels, how can this not be related to our mass move to the not so great indoors!?
Being in the forest has been said to boost the immune system – there are endless reports of natural surroundings improving health and recovery.
Being outside can make us better people – giving yourself the time to enjoy the relaxed environment of your chosen outdoor space can mean more time to appreciate your relationships and passions.
We're not surprised that spending more time outdoors is associated with a longer and healthier life, in-fact we're all about it, just take a look at our reviews and you'll see how many people have experienced life-changing outdoor trips with us.
This isn’t boot camp and we’re not in the business of forcing you to exercise but getting outside and challenging yourself is an important part of human life. Besides, as a species we've spent most of the last few thousand years outside and we're still here! So strap on those walking boots you bought for that new years resolution a while back, and start reaping the benefits.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, on to the good stuff - how to convince your boss that you’d be more productive if you worked less whilst still deserving the same annual salary! We know it doesn’t sound very likely - but it is becoming more and more popular world-wide and there are benefits for all.
There have been multiple studies that have proven productivity increases when we only work 4 days a week as opposed to 5, there is also a decrease in sick days taken. It could be said (and some of us can silently nod and agree) that a lot of time at work is spent looking busy. For some strange reason we've decided to work longer hours (that we aren’t paid for) in order to prove that we work hard (even if we haven’t been all that productive) to create an illusion that we're a top employee. So, we’re giving away more of our free time and getting nothing done, all to support an image we’ve invented (crazy, right!?)
In reality, longer hours make us tired, which increases mistakes, which pushes us to find more distractions and ultimately means more time making coffee. On top of this we spend less time investing in ourselves and our own interests which is not only bad for our well-being, it is also bad for our employers. If we no longer felt the need to convey this false image of longer hours making us better employees, maybe we’d all just get on with it and be happier people. With a reward such as an extra day off, the experts say that efficiency would become a bigger concern and more streamlined systems would be put in place to get the job done. That would mean one whole extra day a week to spend outside soaking in that fresh air goodness and making the most of those all important health benefits. .
Unfortunately, whether it’s 4 days or 5, there is no getting out of it - work is essential to modern-day survival. We need money to pay our bills and in many ways it's good for us but, it shouldn't stop us from getting outside. If you’re lucky (like us), your boss will encourage you to spend time outdoors, but you can’t just hold out for somebody else to push you. So, when work takes your most energetic, productive and active hours of each week – you owe it to yourself to get outside and gain some of that good energy back, you've got a lot more of it than you think.
So, you know the benefits of getting outside but you're still finding it difficult to put the phone away, let's see if this resonates.
Ever see something you don’t like on TV or social-media and think ‘hmmm, a cabin in the middle of absolutely nowhere would be perfect right now’ ? Yep, okay, let’s take this a step further – have you ever actually booked a cabin and after three hours panicked and frantically searched for phone service? And, after a brief mental battle with yourself, climbed to higher ground, only to find out that nobody has text you and it probably wasn’t worth the hassle? Well, we have a solution to the madness... get off the grid for at least 3 days. Multi-day hiking is not only good for the body, it is good for the mind and soul and really gets you out of the noise and mess of the world wide web. Restricting your screen-time each day can help, but you can end up thinking about it even more. Getting away for multiple days will make you truly understand how good being outside with no distractions can feel.
We offer a wide variety of trips here at Active Adventures, that will help you out of this habit and have you saying ‘what’s a hashtag?’ in no time. Well, maybe not that extreme, but the world will keep ticking and the people that care will still be there when you get back.
So, if switching off for a few days can’t force you to reconnect with yourself and face a few home-truths, you can at least enjoy a decent night of sleep without checking what nobody important has been up to online. If there’s one thing that we know to be true, it's that you can't experience all of the best emotions through a screen, they have to be felt and lived! So, stop procrastinating and if planning isn't really your thing, get in touch and let us do the hard work for you.
Setting goals and getting started...
The bright blue waters of Lake Pukaki
Somehow, on top of the rest of the insanity, we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re limited as to when we can start over. With the business week starting on a Monday and the year renewing each January, we’ve pigeon-holed our motivation into a lazy routine of ‘ah I’ll start next week’. Spoiler alert folks, you can start anytime you want, even in the middle of July on a Wednesday afternoon, why not!? Tomorrow is always a fresh start so don’t let any calendar, new year's resolution or voice inside your head tell you otherwise.
So, no matter your age, occupation or outdoor experience, start off slow and do a little research to figure out what green spaces are near to you. Spend one of your days off each week exploring what the areas around you have to offer. Once you’ve outgrown this, why not join one of our tours and we’ll really show you how to grab hold of the moment and enjoy this beautiful world?! If you are after some gentle adventure New Zealand Walking Tours is a great place to start. Little can be huge and it won’t be long before that sense of adventure is pulling you out of the door (rather than the alarm pulling you out of your bed).
So, we’re going to say it, as overdone as it is… you only live once, so make it count! Try not to live as though you have heaps of time and enjoy everything that the world has to offer, because if you have time to read this, you have time to go outside.
We'll take you on an unforgettable journey exploring our mountains, coastlines and countryside, on foot, by bike and with a paddle in your hands. Experience our unique culture and wildlife along the way.