Give Yourself a Gift By Opting Outside This Friday

Originally published on November 24 2015

On the day after Thanksgiving most of us are tired - and may still feel stuffed from overeating - but we're happy that we spent time with family and friends the day before. If you follow most of the nation's retailers, they want you to believe that you have to visit their stores to buy holiday gifts or things for yourself, often at prices you won't see again until the next Black Friday. 

There are others who believe that gifts are more than just physical stuff like clothing, electronics or gadgets that may give one instant gratification. If we want to really have something that lasts, something we can talk to family and friends about, something that stays with us a lifetime then we need to step outside and explore and opt for being outside this Friday. 

Even if you've lived in the same area for a long time as I have, there is that trail, that street, that park, that river or lake that you've not seen before or in a while or at this time of year. Spend a few hours outside and you'll see, hear and smell things you haven't experienced in a while. Want to take away something? Bring a camera.

Since many people are in front of a screen for several hours a day, exploring the outside world can help with relaxation and increased creativity at work. At the very least it's good exercise. Being outside for more than a few minutes may also  help create more of a work-life balance. According to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from everyday overstimulation, which can have a restorative effect on your attention levels.

Do yourself a favor and join me, my wife and millions of others who won't be inside with the crowds trying to find a bargain (most aren't) and #optoutside. You'll remember it for a long time. You may change your mind about gifts for family and friends and give them an experience instead.