“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little,” Billy Connolly once said.
As we all face the prospect of a long cold winter trying to deal with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and the collateral damage of economic uncertainty, we need to find ways of taking the sourest of lemons and try to find ways of turning them into lemonade.
With uncertainty comes a need to think positively and with agility. So rather than just hunkering down indoors over the winter, if possible let’s turn a Covid winter of discontent into a winter of contentment. The winter of the great outdoors.
“I refuse to get downhearted and beaten by this virus. I will play by the rules, but I will adapt.”
Let’s walk together, maximise the opportunities for outdoor socialising, create winter gardens, visit outdoor cafes and pubs with heaters and rugs, drink warm cider and mulled wine. Let’s try and use the winter season to turn this mess on its head with some positive intent.
I refuse to get downhearted and beaten by this virus. I will play by the rules, but I will adapt. I will continue to enjoy my life, meet my friends and family, even if it means that I meet them in the wind and rain. The virus will only defeat our spirit, if we choose to let it.
So as the days get shorter and the Covid restrictions look likely to continue right through the winter, it would be easier to just stay indoors and hunker down for winter, but it’s actually the ideal time to get outside and get moving – both in an urban or rural environment.
“Let’s start a muddy boots campaign. Let’s explore the great outdoors. Let’s have a winter of contentment rather than a winter of discontent.”
Considering the likely indoor restrictions due to Covid, there should be a huge campaign to get the public exercising and socialising outdoors this winter – whatever the weather.
I’m going to try and have the best winter ever. I’m going to run in the rain and walk in the mud. I’m going to get a warm and sexy raincoat and get all windswept and interesting.
Let’s start a muddy boots campaign. Let’s explore the great outdoors. Let’s have a winter of contentment rather than a winter of discontent.
Many people spend workdays indoors under fluorescent lights of computers during the working day and then the glow of television screens in the evening.
This has been exasperated during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Going outside takes away the sedentary nature of staring at a screen, adds natural vitamin D and gets us our required levels of exercise.
Also, in terms of Covid, being outside in open spaces reduces the risk of infection. Respiratory viruses get more diluted in air and get dispersed by wind, so the risk of virus transmission would be lower than indoors.
Going outdoors during daylight can also do wonders for boosting our immune system and protecting us from illness. Taking time in the great outdoors activates a group of mental functions that include our ability to learn new things, to process information and to pay attention. It creates mental wellbeing through mindfulness.
In a 2018 report from University of East Anglia it was revealed that “exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure”. Populations with higher levels of greenspace exposure are also more likely to report good overall health, according to global data in the report involving more than 290 million people.
Alfresco living benefits all ages. According to Harvard Medical School, a study published in 2008 found that “children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after a walk through a park than after a walk through a residential neighbourhood or downtown area”.
So as Billy Connolly advised, get yourself a sexy raincoat, go outside and live a little. The time is now to create a winter of outdoor contentment, even in these discombobulating and worrying times.
James Melville is a freelance writer.
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