In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir
By Jennifer Landis
People are always looking for ways to make life a little less stressful. Scientific evidence has shown that when we connect with nature, we can improve our mental well-being. With the stress of these uncertain times and the warmer weather here, getting outside can help increase calm and contentment.
Experience 8 ways below to connect with nature while also making life brighter for you and your family.
1. Go for a Walk
You and your kids need to release pent-up energy, so why not go for a walk.
A ten-minute walk around your neighborhood or an excursion to a park with a walking trail is fun for everyone. You’ll stop feeling cooped up inside all day and watch the world come back to life as flowers bloom and birds sing along your path. Ask your kids to play “I Spy” while you walk so they engage with the world around them.
2. Watch the Sunrise
It’s nice to have a few quiet moments by yourself in the morning. Take advantage of your alone time and watch the sunrise. You can trek to the beach or grab a light blanket to sit on your porch comfortably. You’ll witness the sun welcoming the day with its soft yellow colors, leaving you feeling happier.
3. Dance in the Yard
When you’re home with your kids and they’re bored, it’s time to head outside. Dance in the yard, amidst the grass and flowers, to favorite songs and throw in a few extra surprises. Let them play with giant wands dipped in large soap dishes to create huge bubbles. Give them streamers or host a dance contest to make it more enjoyable.
Dancing releases energy and wears everyone out. It’s hard to stay worried when you’re busy having fun. You can even turn on the hose and play exciting water games with your kids in the backyard. You can’t remember what was stressing you out when you’re too busy laughing and running from water balloons or a sponge fight.
5. Encourage Outdoor Play
Another way for everyone to destress is to head outside to play. Unstructured, outdoor playtime is essential for little ones to master new physical and social skills because play is a crucial part of learning and development.
Consider investing in some fun and inexpensive toys for your home like sidewalk chalk and bubbles. Your kids can also engage in hopscotch, jump rope, and gardening, all safely in the comfort of your backyard.
6. Schedule a Picnic Date
Take time for self-care by scheduling a picnic date with your immediate family. You can do this right in the yard or at a beach, while still social distancing. You’ll take a break from life and spend time outside with your closest loved ones. Pack your favorite foods and destress with healthy alternatives like nuts, whole wheat English muffins, or dark chocolate.
7. Camp in Your Backyard
Warmer weather is the perfect time for stargazing in the cool early evening breeze. Give yourself more time to marvel at the universe when you camp in your backyard with your family. Pitch a big tent, gather s’mores supplies and talk with your kids about the galaxies above you. They’ll love having a mini-vacation right at home, and you can take deep, refreshing breaths to relax after a long day.
8. Eat Dinner Outside
Sometimes all you need to let go of stress and anxiety is fresh air and time away from distracting electronics and phones. Pick a night where everyone’s home for dinner and eat outside. You may have a porch to dine on or a blanket to spread out on the grass. Either way, you’ll spend more time with the people you love and get away from your daily routine.
Find Mindful Moments Outside
Whether you decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood, camp in the backyard, or eat dinner outside, you can connect with nature and practice mindfulness. Watch your kids play with water balloons or stare at the stars with a relaxing drink. Remind yourself to treasure each moment. You’ll deal with the stressful things later. Use nature to help let go of your stress and focus on yourself and/or your family instead.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys drinking tea, dark chocolate, and rainy day snuggles with her daughter. She enjoys sunny days, too, but finds they are less conducive for snuggles. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.