I work hard in school, and I plan to work hard in my career. But I’m get frustrated sometimes when I think about where all of that work is taking place (and will continue to take place): inside! It seems to me that with all of our technology these days, we’re a lot less in touch with nature than we used to be. Experts, I don’t want to grow up to be an out-of-shape, indoor-only person! What can I do to balance my career with my desire to be outside?
There’s no doubt that we spend a lot of time indoors. Americans are hard-working folks, known for taking fewer days off than their European counterparts. And we tend to aspire to higher-paying jobs, most of which are done indoors and (worse yet) on computer screens that hurt our eyes. On top of all this, we spend the majority of our time at work sitting, which experts are becoming increasingly aware is an unhealthy position to spend so long in.
It would be healthier for us if we were able to go outdoors more often. Being outdoors encourages us to exercise, which too few of us get enough of. It also lets us soak in some sun, which is good in moderation as it helps our body make vitamin D. Studies suggest that being outdoors is healthy. Even when we remove the obvious effects of exercise: the very act of being outside is good for us!
The good news is that, while we still don’t get outside enough, the future doesn’t seem to be quite as indoors-oriented as you might imagine. Experts report that many outdoor recreation areas are seeing heavier and heavier use over the years (a problem in itself, but also a sign that more of us are getting out there and hiking, biking, and rock climbing). And modern technology enables us to pursue remote-work opportunities that would not have existed just a decade or two ago. Some workers spend their lives on the road, enjoying incredible outdoor spaces!
So if you want to spend more of your adult life outside, you absolutely can. You just have to make it a priority. If your career is going to encourage you to spend more time indoors (and it quite likely will), then you’re going to have to prioritize outdoor time by focusing on work-life balance. You’ll need to spend some time working remotely or not working at all, and you’ll need to use that time to get out and get some fresh air!
Make a point of taking vacations outdoors. We all tend to spend a bit more time outside when we’re on vacation. But beware of places where you may frequently find yourself indoors: big cities, for instance, and fancy resorts where air-conditioned hotel rooms and high-end (indoor) restaurants reign may not offer you the outdoors time you desire. Balance your sightseeing and resort trips with outdoorsy destinations. They don’t have to be rustic, say experts who manage peaceful outdoor recreation camping grounds in Bonny Hills, near Port Macquarie, Australia. Just make sure that you’re out in nature!
Think about your home life, too. Many of us live in homes that have both indoor and outdoor spaces, yet too few of us actually use our space sensibly. Investing in outdoor improvements like pools, spas, fire pits, and even outdoor kitchens and dining areas can encourage us to spend more of our time at home outside of our home. Such upgrades would be an investment in our mood, lifestyle, and health, suggest Brisbane pool builders.
Ultimately, you need to remember that it’s your life. Live it in the way that you want to! If being outside is important to you, then it’s on you to make sure that your lifestyle reflects that. Make it a priority, seek work-life balance, plan outdoorsy vacations, and make sure that your home makes it easy and fun to hang out outdoors in nice weather. There’s no reason to envision a couch-potato future for yourself. After all, you’re not just the person who envisions your future: you’re the person who engineers it!