Experiment 2 - 10 minutes outside each morning

Mmm...trickier than I thought

Like Comment

I will spend the first ten minutes of every day outside.

I really assumed this would be easy: I am on school holiday, I have a garden, I love the outdoors. Yet this has proved so much harder than I thought. Why?

  • I find it very difficult to do something just for myself
  • I find it very difficult to do something not obviously physically productive - especially for ten minutes which can seem like an age!
  • I find it difficult to change routines

So... the first day I sort of adapted the parameters of the experiment (cheated?). I got dressed, sorted everyone else out then took mum's dog for a walk. I do this each weekend, but assumed I was entering into the spirit of the experiment. I was outside...in the morning...for 10 minutes? It was all very practical as I walked briskly, lost in my thoughts of what I needed to do and what had happened the previous day. To be honest, there was very little connecting with nature going on!

The next day I went into the garden with a cup of coffee. Right, let's get down to business: breathe...listen...yep, birds... traffic...ohh the winter flowering jasmine is doing well. Alright then, I can tick this off, back inside. I spent probably 4 minutes out there before I wanted to rush back in to check all was ok indoors and move onto the next thing. I honestly don't know what I was frightened of missing - and there is a fear there. If I am not there to ensure all goes smoothly, it may all go disastrously wrong!

I spent yesterday reflecting on this.

Through an experiment that I never thought would be a challenge, I have looked inside myself, and realised that I find it very difficult to switch off from the practicalities of life. My sense of self is generally defined by my role in the lives of others. It dawned on me in a very real way that I need to be able to find stillness in myself and this needs to be a priority!

This experiment for me is a work in progress. The darkness we have been experiencing lately with the seemingly constant rain, has leant an oppressive air to nature. But this experiment is about working with the outdoors in all its forms and finding a connection in a way that needs no money, no great shift in routine, no fancy equipment: just a place to go outside, rest your mind and breathe. Sounds easy...

Today I went out, stood on the back step, breathed in, listened and looked, actually listened and looked. The noise of the traffic was a constant backdrop, but the noises and sounds of nature made themselves known. As I looked over to the other side of the valley, for a moment I felt outside of myself, felt that awareness of a world so awe inspiring. I am lucky. I live in a beautiful part of Yorkshire. We have had floods but they receded quickly and caused little damage to properties. But through this experiment, I realise that I have fooled myself into thinking that because nature is all around me and I love walking that this is connecting with it. No, I exist within it but I am often far too 'busy' to slow down and spend time with the outdoors- to really engage with it.

I managed about 5 minutes today, but they were a valuable 5 minutes. Like I said, it is a work in progress. I will persevere and this is what I wanted out of this year long experience - to shake things up a bit, to learn more about myself, to wake up to how I have been living my life. When I return to work, I doubt I will spend 10 minutes each morning in the pitch black, but I can find 2 minutes to breathe deeply outside and as it gets lighter, that time can get longer. It will be nice to physically track the lengthening days noticing the sights and sounds around me.

Who knew stepping out of my back door could have had such an impact?


Mother, wife, daughter, teacher...

Firmly stuck in the 'sandwich generation' category, I am 46 years old and looking to shake things up a bit! I am a teacher, which I love - but it takes over your life! A mother of three - two daughters, 16 and 15, a son aged 11. Wife to Simon for 19 years. Carer for rather eccentric mum, aged 89.


Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
Chris Baréz-Brown about 5 years ago

Amazing insight! Sounds like this was a winner. Love your commentary; depth and honesty. The simplest things...well done for managing it with the storms . Big love and New Year wishes C x

Go to the profile of Jacqui
Jacqui about 5 years ago

Thank you Chris and New Year wishes to you!

Go to the profile of Preeti
Preeti about 5 years ago

Some great insights Jacqui. Sounds like this experiment was really beneficial. Loved reading about your experience.

Go to the profile of Jacqui
Jacqui about 5 years ago

Thank you Preeti. Amazing how having something or someone nudge you to try something new can be so revealing! It is so easy to stick to 'same old, same old'....!

Go to the profile of Vicki
Vicki about 5 years ago

Hi Jacqui, I thought this was a great post, really moving. It provided me with so much food for thought that, although it was not the first thing in the morning, I decided to head out there and then for my 10 mins to think through it all. It especially struck a cord when you said 'I exist within ...' but with no time to engage with. I guess that's what this year will be all about.

Go to the profile of Jacqui
Jacqui about 5 years ago

Thank you Vicki. I am really enjoying having these little mini- projects! They really do shake things up a bit! Good luck with yours.

Go to the profile of Jacqui
Jacqui about 5 years ago

Thank you Vicki. I am really enjoying having these little mini- projects! They really do shake things up a bit! Good luck with yours.

Go to the profile of Ffi Ffi Trixibelle
Ffi Ffi Trixibelle about 5 years ago

Hi Jacqui
I felt total empathy with your statement... 'My sense of self is generally definied....' been of similar age I think we are the sandwich generation and generally I can only give myself time when I am totally sure everyone else's needs are sorted. I guess this is what this year is all about? Perhaps making our needs just as important as others since perhaps our teens? x

Go to the profile of Jacqui
Jacqui about 5 years ago

Absolutley Fi. That is the aim!