1. It is good for you and your health. Studies have shown that spending time outside can help alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Getting sun exposure and Vitamin D may also help prevent cancer. Overall, being outside can be a great stress-reliever.
2. Playing in the cold and snow will make you feel young again. There is nothing like hurling yourself down a hill on a small sled to make you feel alive and 12 years old again! Do you remember how to make a good snow angel? Ice skating, sledding, broomball, shoveling snow, making snow forts with the kids – it’s all good.
3. You could pick up a new hobby or learn a new winter sport. Now is the time to try out snowboarding (for the braver and fitter among us) or try snowshoeing for the first time. Birding in the winter can be especially rewarding and it doesn’t require a lot of money or top-level fitness. And when was the last time you strapped on a pair of ice skates? If it’s been over a year, it has been too long. Ice fishing can be a hoot. Think Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men. If you’re in a fitness rut, get outside and try something new.
4. You can enjoy the latest winter fashions whether it be a cool new hat or funky pair of brightly colored long underwear. Now is the time to express your personality and stay warm with your boots, hat (Mary Tyler Moore-esque or funky fleece?), mittens (hand made and woolen or knitted?), gloves, and scarf (Dr. Who or Gryffindor, perhaps?)
5. Walking outside is much more relaxing and enjoyable than walking through a crowded, artificially lit mall. Being outside in the quiet of winter cold is so peaceful you could practice singing Christmas tunes and the birds and beasts would be your only audience.
6. You can do experiments you have never done before. Have you tried blowing bubbles in the frigid air? Have you looked up close at a snowflake with the naked eye or under a magnifying glass? Now is the time.
7. Your dog needs his walk. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you could borrow a neighbor’s, relative’s, or friend’s dog and treat him to a trip around the neighborhood. Dogs are great at teaching us to live in the moment and most dogs love a good romp in the snow.
8. You can look for signs of life in the winter. Tracks in the wintertime snow are very clear and revealing. Betsy Bowen’s book “Tracks in the Wild” could be a good starter guide. Learn how to identify the footprints of ermine, white-tailed deer, white-footed mice, gray wolves, beavers, and red foxes. You may be surprised by what has been travelling through your neighborhood.
9. There are no pesky mosquitoes, gnats, or bees with which to contend. Allergy sufferers are given a respite because there are few, if any pollens, floating through the air. Surprisingly, the fresh air and exercise (even if it is just for a few minutes) will give you more energy for the rest of the day.
10. When you come in from the cold, you will feel better and be able to appreciate the modern conveniences of furnaces, espresso makers, fireplaces, hot tubs, and maybe even a warm laptop computer.
11. You might cross paths with your neighbor and end up catching up on the latest neighborhood news. Being outside is a great way to build connections and community.
12. It’s a great way to spend time with your loved ones. The usual distractions – TV, email, housework, etc. – will not get in the way of spending time and perhaps having a one-on-one chat with your child, spouse, or friend. Some of the best conversations happen while enjoying the great outdoors.