People in Wheelchairs Have Gotta Get Away

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This is something on my mind and one of those rare occurrences where I will indict myself and say, “do as I say, not as I do.”

At the time of my writing this, there is a global pandemic. But I write for the future as well as the present, so viruses aside, here’s what I have to say this week.

Unconditionally, going outside – preferably in nature or with people around – is beneficial for your mental health.

Go outside. Go for a walk. Go downtown unless it’s closed for the virus.

Too often people aren’t going outside and unless they have a really good reason to do something, people will migrate towards the most convenient thing. It could be laying down, watch TV, social media, eat, or doing something not necessary or the best use of time.

Especially for those that are in a wheelchair or have a seeming obstacle to going outside, this is why you must do it.

When I was getting my car, I sent a message out to a group and asked for car advice. Someone in a wheelchair sent me a long message raving and praising minivans and telling me that I absolutely need to get one.

I am adamantly against minivans on the grounds that I don’t like them. I can’t be persuaded otherwise, however, the argument I was told by that person along with many others who don’t share my taste in vehicles was that it would be easy to get in and out, which does matter.

It wasn’t the minivan that people loved, but the value it can give to those in wheelchairs – reducing effort to go out.

It’s true – getting in and out of a van or some maddingly modified vehicle is about as easy as opening the front door and walking in.

If it’s such an endeavor to get in and out of your car, the likelihood of not going anywhere will increase. It’s how everyone is. Ask someone if they want to go somewhere but then tell them they need to do 50 pushups first and watch as they reason how staying home is better because they have dishes to wash anyway.

I’m giving you an order, even in the thickest snow, hardest rain, and repelling heat, go outside and remind yourself that you’re in the world.

Don’t be a hermit that stays inside all the time, too many people have told me stories of people in wheelchairs who become secluded and never leave.

Of course, there are some exceptions, such as myself with college where I do find myself inside much of the time studying, however, I’m not afraid to get out and have an adventure or fall over a few times. Even so, I should be going out for a walk by the water at least once every few days, and I’ll start doing so.


Immediate actionable items: Mark times to go outside on your calendar. The first thing in the morning is best because as the day progresses, more will come up and you’ll find an excuse to not go outside.  Write down, “I will do ____ every X days.” as a contract to your mental and physical health.

Summary: If you’re in a wheelchair or have any obstacle of any type, that is no excuse to not go outside at least once a day and go for a walk, see some people, see some trees. It’s easy to stay inside, which is why going outside is so necessary.

Overdeliver:  Marking things on your calendar make you more likely to commit to doing them. Have a friend go with you to make it more enjoyable or go alone and take time to think and be present in the world.

Having someone else makes both of you accountable for the other and it’ll become something you look forward to.