Why You Should Ditch The Office For The Great Outdoors

by Chantel Rizzardi

As summer marches on, we find ourselves in the midst of Great Outdoors Month, a time of year when we are implored to embrace nature and take full advantage of the season's ideal conditions for recreation.

Those of us who work full-time — making our lunchtime commutes to relish moments of freedom at cafes and bistros in urban downtowns across the country — may be finding ourselves cursing the great outdoors as the unmistakable June sunshine beats down upon us in even our most heatwave-appropriate, business-casual apparel.

However, summer weather was meant to be enjoyed outside of our concrete jungles, at grassy ballparks and breezy mountain hiking sites, not at the corner of Main and 3rd, where the bus exhaust and honking horns beckon for a serene escape from the heat.

June was proclaimed Great Outdoors Month in 2008 by our country's president and statesmen, and many of them have endorsed it as a time for us to reconnect with family and enjoy outdoor traditions as well as appreciate wildlife and its preservation.

Not every state has sent in a proclamation, but the number is growing.

The month is dotted with events such as National Fishing and Boating Week (June 6-14), Great American Campout Day (June 27) and, my personal favorite, Get Into Your Sanctuary Day (June 27-28), which encourages environmentally-friendly water activities like swimming, fishing and kayaking.

Just because you're no longer a victim of the family road trip doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the summer's ideal conditions.

Getting the men or women together for a weekend of whitewater rafting and cooking out could be the change of scenery you need to give your mind a break from the monotony of meetings and reports.

You don't need to go on a hardcore mountain climbing expedition to the Rockies to get into the spirit.

Even a simple yoga session or jog through the local park could be the refreshing pick-me-up you need for all the indoor time you spend with your MacBook.

While getting caught up in the daily grind, it's easy for us to take the outdoors for granted.

But, we tend to only miss things when they're not there for us at the time we need them.

Imagine getting the sudden urge to go for a dive at the local lake just to find it's no longer there.

Great Outdoors Month is also a perfect reason to be proactive about protecting the Earth.

Usually, proceeds from park and wildlife reserve activities benefit the maintenance of the nature facilities.

The National Wildlife Foundation has launched a convenient NatureFind app that easily allows you to find parks, trails and campsites near you.

If you want to enhance your outdoor adventures, you can also download Yonder, which allows you to map and share site-specific photos, post ratings and recommendations and find new nature spots to explore.

For people who need a little inspiration to wander out of their urban indoor nests and appreciate the great outdoors, I recommend checking out @nakedplanet, @camp4collective or @earthfocus on Instagram for a visual kick in the pants out the door.