“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us” (Albert Schweitzer) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Appreciation and Gratitude.

This year the one thing that we have tried to focus on here at OutdoorCure HQ is life’s little positives. At a time when it has felt stressful, uncertain and scary, focusing on things that we appreciate and are grateful for, has really helped us out. We could write a whole other blog on things we are grateful for but the focus of today’s blog is people. People who support us and are there for us, either in major or minor ways, but we know that they have completely got our back and are on our side. We often forget to express this or let them know, so we have issued a reminder that feeling genuinely appreciated really does lift people up and expressing that gratitude to others gives us a feel-good boost and deepens relationships. So, have a think about your social network – your friends, family and colleagues… further afield maybe. Think about who you value and what you are grateful for. It’s time to let people know you appreciate them.

The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to the Importance Appreciation and Gratitude

  • Gratitude shifts our focus. It makes us focus on the positive and as we gravitate towards what we focus on that can only be a step in the right direction.
  • Being grateful can help to reduce your fears because it’s hard to be fearful and grateful at the same time.
  • Gratitude exercises can help to relax us. Try taking just 5 minutes before you go to bed to think about the good things that have happened in your day and what you are grateful for. You may notice that with practice you start to sleep better.
  • Gratitude can improve physical health. According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2012, people who express gratitude experience less pains and report feeling healthier.
  • Gratitude can improve self-esteem. Studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons as grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  • A focus on gratitude and expressing improves our satisfaction with life. Instead of complaining or thinking about what we deserve, the focus is on what we have and the positive.
  • Gratitude builds resilience by focusing on strength and what we have! Resilience is a key component in dealing with high levels of stress and change.

We don’t know about you but we are off to find ourselves a new notebook to write down what we are grateful for!

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“Sleep is the best meditation” (Dalai Lama) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Sleep Hygiene.

With the recent clock change, a blog on sleep hygiene seemed kinda topical. For all the great sleepers out there, the clocks changing may not have had too much of an impact. For all the disturbed sleep sleepers out there, it can knock an already precarious sleep pattern into disarray! If there is one thing we know at OutdoorCure HQ it’s that sleep matters. Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important to our wellbeing as eating healthily and exercising are. If you don’t believe us – a quick internet search will give you an overview and probably make you want to head to bed that very second to reap the benefits. For today’s blog we compiled a list of our favourite sleep hygiene tricks and tips for your perusal.
The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Change your mindset. If you refer to yourself as a poor/bad sleeper – stop with immediate effect. If you tell yourself you’re a bad sleeper, you are simply reaffirming that self belief and chances are, it will remain your truth.
Avoid large meals for several hours before bed! We all know to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed but many of us forget that the same applies to large meals. Yes, we know they can make you feel sleepy but trust us, your sleep will be disturbed as your body is going through the digestion process.
Be an early exerciser. Exercise and being physically active gives you the best possible chance of a good night’s sleep but make sure you don’t do it too late at night. Exercise stimulates the body and produces cortisol which makes us more alert. Finish exercising AT LEAST 3 hours before bedtime.
Design your own pre-bed routine making sure it’s calming and relaxing. Have a bath, read, watch television even – whatever helps you to relax. Avoid engaging in anything that spikes your stress levels whether this be a horror film, difficult conversations or work emails.
Stick to a rough routine. Yep boring we know but it really does help to ‘train’ your body and mind that this is now a quieter time, this is time for rest and sleep and this is awake time. Figure out what works for you beforehand and then be strict with yourself.
Use natural light as your friend. This is a tricky one to say in the autumn/winter months but let the light in first thing in the morning, take a walk outdoors on your lunch break and let nature do its thing.
Don’t miss your sleep window. This is a favourite at OutdoorCure HQ. Go to sleep when you are tired at night. Don’t be a hero and push through to get more tasks done, you will end up forcing your body to wake up. Equally as important, don’t try for sleep when you are not tired – the frustration this will cause you may keep you awake.
Good luck and good night,
The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“Be about actions, not distractions” (Anon) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Focusing Your Mind.

Modern life is distracting. It is chaotic, fast paced, instant and distracting. There is noise, lights, movement, screens… the list goes on and on. At OutdoorCure HQ we try to keep distractions to a minimum but have found it is part environment and in part our minds. Maintaining focus is essential for a productive week, whether it is getting a task done, achieving a goal or revising for an exam. It may be that you are simply working from home and find that you are constantly getting distracted by things. So, what can we do about it? How can we ensure that we are being proactive and choosing to get things done rather than letting ourselves fall down the rabbit hole of distraction? Check out our handy top tip guide below:

The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Avoiding Distraction and Getting Stuff Done

  • Remove external distractions – this is the most obvious piece of advice ever but it’s also the one that you need to be strictest about. Distracted by your phone? Take it to another room. Distracted by the television? Turn it off. Take action.
  • Turn down the internal distractions. If you are prone to your mind wandering or have intrusive thoughts it is more difficult – you can’t simply take these to another room. It may be that you have to prepare your mind for the task ahead – whether it be work or a chore and then focus on getting the task done. Focus on the action and your mind may start to switch to thinking about the task itself.
  • If you don’t know it or haven’t got the equipment needed then skip it and move on to the next task. It’s a bit like doing an exam and going back to that question you don’t know the answer to at the end. Often if you break momentum in your task, you lose focus and can become easily distracted.
  • Experiment with the best working space or environment for you and pick a space that works for you. Remember, it may not have to be distraction free – sometimes dull environments can make people sleepy! Explore and notice what works for you.
  • Monitor your wandering mind and notice when you are becoming distracted by your thoughts. By paying attention you can take action – do you need a break? Do you need to hydrate or take a walk?
  • Remind yourself of what you want to achieve. Why not write it down and when you notice that your mind is not focusing on the task at hand read your mission statement.
  • Break down your task – if you become very easily distracted this one works wonders. Focus for short bursts – so for example, set a timer for 20 minutes – dedicate that time to your chosen task, maybe reading some emails and go all out for these 20 minutes. As you train your mind to stay focused, you can extend the time!

Let’s stay focused!

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

 

‘Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges’ (Bryant McGill) Top Tips on Letting Calm Into Your Life.

 Sometimes when the world seems chaotic and out of control here, at OutdoorCure HQ, we pay extra attention to bringing calm into our lives. Yep – extra attention and yep we need to pay extra attention to it. The reason being, it’s easy to feel very overwhelmed when all around us is chaotic and it’s a slippery slope. Once we start sliding down the helter skelter, it can be hard to stop unless we actively remember to, and actually press pause. This is where bringing in the calm helps. It’s good to know what makes you feel calm and how you can do more of it without putting yourself under additional stress or pressure. We were chatting about the idea of feeling calm and realised it’s a lot harder to cite how feeling calm feels physically in our body than it is to describe the effects feeling stressed has on our body! With this in mind, make sure you pay attention to your body next time you are calm. Notice how it feels.

The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Bringing in the Calm

1) Set yourself realistic limits. We tend to think we should be able to do everything with a superhuman strength and feel a failure if we don’t or can’t. Reflect on the time pressures you put on yourself weekly or even daily. Plan your day, let things go and don’t forget that very important word… No!

2) Ensure your environment is calm. If this is impossible in all rooms at the very least ensure your bedroom is. Declutter, use colours, fragrances and textures that you find relaxing and soothing.

3) Be 10 minutes early. It truly is amazing how much stress we can put ourselves under by running late. Plan the night before, don’t try and fit in an extra task before you leave and allow time. Make it your mission this week to un-late yourself 😊

4) Ask instead of guess. This is a game changer if you are an overthinker. The amount of cognitive and emotional resources you will save by changing your communication is significant.

5) Switch off daily: put your phone down, turn the notifications off and simply be in the moment in whatever you choose to do. This can take practice if you’re a multitasker but it really does slow you down and bring you right into the present moment.

6) Mini retreat – we’re not talking a long weekend away, just know and do what works for you. An afternoon in the countryside, a reading session or a catch up with an old friend. Whatever brings you calm, plan in to your week. It is just as important as that huge task list.

7) Have a calming phrase or mantra. One that resonates with you and it doesn’t matter if it feels silly, you don’t have to share it. When life feels chaotic, say it to yourself and find that calm.

 

Here’s to a calmer week OutdoorCurers! x

 

 

‘In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect’ (Alice Walker) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Bringing the Outdoors Inside.

With summer finally saying goodbye and a combo of colder weather and shorter days on our doorstep, us folks at OutdoorCure HQ have been having some very interesting conversations about bringing the outdoors inside. While we are very fond of wrapping up, weather proofing and just getting outdoors regardless we often find that it is just too cold and wet to spend prolonged periods of time outside. So… to enhance our wellbeing and energy we have been talking about our favourite ways to have the best of both worlds. There are many benefits of bringing the outdoors indoors: relaxation, a positive mood and feelings of warmth to name just a few. So, if like us, it’s time to get on your project hats and start creating a sense of the great outdoors in your own home or indeed office, then read our top tips below:
The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Making Nature at Home in Your Home
Make the most of natural light and air – yep a simple but essential reminder. Don’t block your windows, open your curtains and blinds every day and get your windows open so fresh air can circulate.
It’s all too easy to say fill your house with plants and flowers, but if you really do love filling your space with greenery, consider a green wall. A living, breathing wall of plants and flowers as a feature really does bring that evoke that sense of nature indoors.
Have an indoors picnic! Was it the Famous Five who said food tastes so much better outdoors? Well, we agree but a picnic tastes just as good indoors – trust us we’ve had a lot of practice!
Using natural materials and colours in your home brings a huge sense of calm to your environment. Do some research with what works for you and plan a decorating project.
Who said trees are just for outdoors? A potted tree can make a quirky and peaceful addition to any space. Just make sure your chosen tree is one that will survive indoors.
Get creative and do a nature collage – it could be themed by feature or season but you’ll get a double hit of positivity on this one – from the creativity and the visual!
Do you have a favourite photo you’ve taken outside in nature? It could be the light coming through the trees or dancing off water… whatever it is consider getting it printed on canvas and up on your wall to evoke that sense of wonder you felt when you were in that moment.
Join us on our outdoors indoors project!
The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life” (Marie Kondo) The OutdoorCure Persuasive Guide to Having an October Sort Out.

Whether you are a fan of collectables and trinkets or an aspiring minimalist, tis the season to have a good old-fashioned sort out. “Whaaaaat?????” I hear you say. “Surely the time for this is the new year, or spring clean?” Well yes, you would be right but this time of year has benefits too. Firstly, we are hitting a period where daylight hours are fast reducing and it is easy to become gloomy and uninspired. Having a project will keep you focused and motivated. It’s also the run up to… dare we mention it Christmas… so getting rid of any unwanted items means your living space will not crumble at the first sign of a gift! You could also use the time to sell any items that may be of use to another person, or donate them to a charity shop so others can benefit. And, as we all probably feel better after a good tidy up and organising session… here are our top tips!
The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to an October Sortathon
Read an inspiring book – our faves are The Year of Less by Cait Flanders and Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki. Take note of what resonates with you and use it as your motivation. It may be that you wish to live a simpler life for example.
Schedule it in to your month – a day or two where you can really get stuck in to what you are doing without any other obligations. There is little point trying to start on a Sunday if you are cooking a Sunday dinner or preparing for your week at work!
Once you have chosen where you are going to start, spend a few moments visualising what you would like the space to look like. This will help you to stay focused.
Get some large empty bags and label them: charity, sell, recycle etc. It is sometimes useful to have a ‘maybe’ bag for items you need to think about. This way you won’t keep hitting a wall and can move through your tidying plan.
Have some simple folders for paperwork eg… household bills. You can place what you need into them and won’t just have a stack of papers at the end to file (trust us, this can be a real drag)
If you use or wear an item regularly make sure that its location reflects that – there is no point putting your most worn jumper at the back of your wardrobe. You’ll undo all your good work in seconds!
Once you have sorted an area, spend a few minutes each week ensuring that items go back to their proper place until it becomes second nature.
Let’s get sorting 😊
The OutdoorCureOnline Team

“Do Something Green Today” – The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Staying Safe and Staying Green

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One of the quieter impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is started to emerge – the impact on the environment. While on the one hand, the travel restrictions had a positive effect on air pollution, the pandemic also saw a rise in the use of single use plastics for PPE. It has also seen many major companies put a temporary ban on bringing your own reusable coffee mugs. At OutdoorCure HQ we felt the impact as the shop we used to refill our plastic bottles closed throughout lockdown. It started to feel like a bit of backwards step. We always try and consider the environment in whatever we do and play our part in looking after the world we live in. With this in mind, we took some time this week to put down in words, the simple steps we are taking to play our part in protecting the environment.

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7 tips to stay safe and stay green

  • You may not be able to use your refillable coffee cup at your favourite coffee shop… but you can brew up at home and take it with you – tea, coffee, hot chocolate – be creative and take it with you!
  • Don’t forget your reusable straw. We recently invested in some stainless steel straws that can be used time and time again. You can even get travel ones to pop in your pocket. Make sure you buy separate straws and mark them so you know which is yours!
  • You can buy fabric, washable facemasks but if you have to, have to, have to use disposable ones, make sure you cut the straps off them as they have been causing problems for marine life!
  • Shop local and shop different. Many village markets have popped up following the pandemic –use and support them. Take bags with you and you will also find that they use a lot less plastic than the supermarkets do.
  • Join a local environmental group or organise something yourself in your community… a socially distanced litter pick for example.
  • Think before you get in the car… we are still travelling less than before; it might be you are working from home or only travelling for essential reasons. So if you’re heading out for the day close to home – consider an alternative method – can you walk or cycle?
  • If you are in the house more than before, give your routine some thinking about. Put a jumper on before turning up the heating, make sure you turn off lights as you leave the room and turn off appliances rather than leave them on standby.

Is there any else you are doing?? Let us know!

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy everybody would do it. Hard is what makes it great” (A League of Their Own) The OutdoorCureOnline Stress Reduction Training Plan.

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Unless you are a very fortunate (or extremely laid back) person, chances are you will experience stressful events in your life. Sometimes these can be “positive” events such as starting a new job or moving house; other times they can be horrifically painful, like losing someone you love. We are all aware of the signs and symptoms of stress, for example – sleepless nights, headaches, anxiety and many, many more… but what happens if we have a prolonged period of stress or several stressful events back to back..? If it is connected to a specific event, it may even be that the stress you are under will not reduce until that event has taken place. Discussions were underway at OutdoorCure HQ about this recently and we decided upon a different approach that we wanted to share with you. The approach was this: if you imagine your stressful event is a sporting event for a moment – we picked a boxing match – and if you knew this sporting event was coming, you would do everything you could to ensure your body and mind were as fit as they could be so you could give it your all. This is where we decided to employ self care techniques to ensure that our body and mind were as fit as they could be so we were dealing with the stressful event with the most emotional strength we could.

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Here are some hints and tips from our:

OutdoorCureOnline Stress Reduction Training Plan

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet – yep this is an old favourite and nothing new but the reason it is an old favourite is because it’s true. If you are skipping meals because you are too stressed, or having more caffeine or alcohol you are not giving your body it’s best fighting chance to support your mind!
  • Get some physical exercise outdoors if possible. It doesn’t matter whether you run, skip, walk or hop – get active within your capabilities and get outdoors. The feel good factors that this will bring will help to reduce your stress levels.
  • Learn what helps relieve your stress in the moment – it might be a shower, a gym session or blasting some music. Experiment and discover what works for you so that if you feel your stress levels are rising, you are in control of bringing them down to a more manageable level.
  • Manage your time effectively. This may include saying no to things that put you under a time pressure. When you are operating under stress levels you may find you do not have the same resources for things you used to. That is ok. Give yourself a break and say no without feeling guilty.
  • Connect with positive people. We go on about this all the time! Those people who are the sunshine in your life – grab them and connect. Maybe go for a walk with them and get some outdoors time too.
  • Take control of your environment. You may well find that if you are under a lot of stress that you can not cope with things in the way you usually would. You may need to turn the television down or keep on top of the housework for example – if you can, reduce the stressful environmental factors around you.
  • Create a positive and simple morning and evening routine – this way you will be giving yourself the best chance of having a productive day and also getting as much sleep as you can. Write one out and adapt it as needed to find what works best for you!

We are off to write our own stress reduction training plans now!

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“…And then I realised that adventures are the best way to learn” (Anon) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Adventuring for Wellbeing.

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When we think about the different ways that we relax and take time out of our ‘everyday’ lives, roles or routines, it is often a holiday that springs to mind. We agree – wholeheartedly agree – but here at OutdoorCure HQ we like to take that think different approach and often take that ‘holiday’ concept and turn it into mini adventures. There is a lot to be said for adventuring. We tend to lose the spirit and impetus to adventure when we become adults and with it, we lose a whole load of other benefits. This blog is dedicated to the messy, unruly, wild spirit of adventuring. Remember, the magic of adventures is that they can be anywhere, any length, planned or impromptu, any season, alone or with your other. So, give our top 7 benefits of adventuring a read, grab your adventure bag and… LET’S GO!

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The OutdoorCureOnline List of Benefits to Adventuring Through Life

  • Adventure offers meaningful and life changing experiences. When you adventure, you open yourself up to different experiences, people and perspectives and from this you can find meaning, gain understanding and grow.
  • Going on adventures raises your tolerance to uncertainty! Things don’t always go as planned and adventuring where you might get lost, have to think outside the box or be imaginative gives you some epic life skills.
  • Adventuring feeds your dreams and gives you the confidence that you can achieve things by giving you a gentle push outside your comfort zone. Who knows what is round the next corner and what you will discover about yourself?
  • It has no limits and no expectations; you can just be. Adventuring does not require you to be a certain age or a certain way. This is a very freeing experience. Just go be.
  • Spending time outdoors is sooooooooo good for you. Yes we go on and on – it reduces stress, is an easy way to exercise and is rejuvenating… just to mention a few.
  • Adventuring lets you experience and try different ways to live. Always fancied living in a cabin in the woods? Go and have a cabin adventure. So many different ways to live.
  • You get to relive your adventure stories! This one is massive. You know all those times something horrible happens to you and you retell it 971 times and it gets bigger and all those horrible feelings can resurface? Well now imagine retelling your adventures and all the exciting, happy feelings that will illicit.

Here’s to hoping no one is still reading and you’re all packing your adventure bags…

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x

“Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it” (Bear Grylls) The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Looking Your Fear in the Eyes.

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Fear – whether it is a direct acute fear, or one that sneaks up on you quietly – can have a profoundly negative affect on the way you live your life. It might be that it causes severe anxiety, or stops you from doing certain things. It might be causing you to overthink or an increase in stress levels. Fear can be a sneaky little monster, and often we don’t realise it has snuck into our lives. So how can we explore and learn to accept our fears so we can take back control? Give our handy little ‘top tip’ guide below a read to find out.

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The OutdoorCureOnline to Looking Your Fear in the Eyes.

  • Get to know your fears. Often we try and suppress or block our fears because of how they make us feel. It can be useful to make a list and explore your fears. Try and discover where they come from and if you can, discuss the likelihood of the fear becoming a reality with someone you trust.
  • Bring it back to the moment and break it down in to steps. Are you fearful of something that is months away from happening? Bring yourself back to the present moment. What is the next step that you can take today that may help when you get to that moment? Being proactive, even if it is hard to, can make us feel more in control.
  • Know and trust deeply that pain can bring valuable life experience and insight. No-one wants to be in pain or to face that fear head on, but strength can be found in knowing that you can learn and grow from what happens. Overcoming a challenging situation can bring successes in the future.
  • Practice self-care. Fear is one of those tricky emotions that has an effect on us physically. Self-care strategies can help to minimise the likelihood of fear manifesting as long-term depression, for example.
  • Know your own power! We all doubt our ability to get through difficult times, but know that you have got through so far and if you take it one step at a time, trust in yourself.
  • Reboot your mornings. The mornings set us up for the day so if you are starting off your day in a way that is not helpful to you right now, give your morning routine a rejig! Have your coffee outside, have a mindful shower focusing on the sensory experience or do some yoga. It really can help you to start of your day in a positive, strong way.
  • Let the positive in. Hang out with people who bring positivity into your life. They are the people who get things done and feed you positive energy. Not sure who they are? Check in with yourself before and after you spend time with someone… you will soon work it out.

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x