3 Tips For Making Any Weekend Feel Like a Long Weekend

Experience the wonderful benefits of slowing down in the outdoors.

Spending time outdoors is the best. We challenge ourselves, we see amazing places, we understand more about nature and our planet, we run wild, and have a great time. Dream trips are planned out and goals are set, we climb mountains, paddle rivers, cycle around the world, and sign on for incredible and inspiring adventures.

Yet, there is something to be said for the other side of the coin; that healing, refreshing, relaxing power of the outdoors. It's those times when you don't set specific goals or make a detailed plan for your time in nature, but at the conclusion of the trip are completely recharged. Slowing down in the outdoors can show you a way of life you may never have experienced before. You may even discover that your Friday-night camping trip ends up feeling a lot like a three-day weekend!

I recently experienced this very same phenomenon and it was fantastic. Here are a few tips for creating some mental space on your next weekend outing.

Make a Plan (or Don't)!

Depending on how much time you have at your disposal, as well as on your personality, you'll either need to intentionally schedule time to slow down and relax, or you'll need to not plan at all and just go with the flow! Personally, I have to schedule the downtime if I want a relaxing trip - whether it's reading a book in a hammock, sitting and watching the river flow by, or just taking a really long breakfast at camp to watch the sunrise. Do whatever you have to do to ensure that you get recharged and filled up, even if all you have time for is a short trip.

Remove All Distractions

This is something that we all know is important, but removing distractions is probably more difficult in this day and age than it ever has been before. The key to fully relaxing outdoors is to truly be present and focused on the moment. Our minds and our senses need to be fully engaged with the beauty and life of the natural world all around us. Put your phone in airplane mode (if you can get cell service to begin with!), turn off the music, and even forgo taking a photo in favor of using your senses to imprint the moment on your memory. Capture details with your eyes, make mental notes of the weather and the wildlife, enjoy each long and present moment either solo or with those you're travelling with. Music, photos, and the like are awesome, but sometimes a trip to a secluded place can be so much more calming and fulfilling without them. 

Repeat Often

Once you've learned to make time slow down and to really soak in your surroundings, don't limit yourself to enjoying these restful times only occasionally! Go on regular excursions into the wild and experience its rejuvenating power.

Sometimes you just need to sit by a quiet lake.

Published: April 10, 2017

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Andrew Todd

Atlanta

Web developer by weekday. Cyclist, hiker, and bookworm the rest of the time.