It is the beginning of the year and you’ve survived Christmas 2020 – and the entirety of 2020 for that matter! It’s time to tackle those New Year’s resolutions. However, if you are like me, the holidays have left me with brain fog, feeling lethargic and burned out. The memo regarding my 2021 resolutions have been lost…or thrown out!
The turn of the year always triggers some need to alter habits. As a parent, an even more daunting task is engaging the entire family to practice new and positive or healthy habits.
This year, instead of beating my head against a wall trying to fulfill a resolution for a few weeks before I crash, I am simplifying. I am embracing time spent outdoors with intention as a way to improve my quality of life and my physical and mental health; as well as decrease, or even eliminate screen time for my kids. I’d like to say that I am bringing my family along for the ride. However, it is quite the opposite, as they are the ones that inspire me.
“Playing outside” is not just for kids.
Why do we send kids outside, or bring them to the playground or take them on bike rides or walks? We do these things because 1, it is good for them and 2, it is clear when kids need a release, be it physically, mentally. What if we looked at those needs and applied them to our own, as stressed and burned out Moms?
Moms, too, need release. Moms, it is good for us to be outside, not just for our kids!
A few years ago, I did not share these ideas. I needed help getting accustomed to being outdoors with my kids for long periods of time. Here are two resources, that I use, and am a part of, that help my kids and I be engaged with the outdoors, and each other.
Find a Local Community:
Roots and Wings Nature Community, Greenville, SC
Finding a community can be very inspiring and beneficial for parents and kids. Here in Greenville, my family and I are so blessed to be part of the Roots and Wings Nature Community. Their passion for play-based learning in nature is contagious and their love for teaching and nurturing children and walking alongside families, is palpable. My kids are students of Nature School, which meets weekly for 1.5 hours. The classroom is completely outdoors. The nature-based curriculum is solid. Every week there is a new theme with hands on activities, experiments, opportunity to explore, discover and discuss, play and create. My kids have retained so much from the classes. While being outdoors for them is continually being normalized, it has also conditioned my ability to appreciate and learn from nature.
Roots and Wings Nature Community has a variety of opportunities to get started and get involved. If you and your kids need inspiration or guidance, the founders and teachers are fabulous resources. They’d be happy to connect with your family.
Take Part in a Challenge
1000 Hours Outside is a year long challenge to spend, you guessed it, 1000 hours outside. It is an intentional movement to scale down hours of screen time and purposefully replace them with hours outside. I decided that the challenge would be my inspiration and also my motivation to get my kids outside more. What that looks like for us most days, is spending hours in the backyard. 1000 Hours Outside is not meant to be a stress-inducing goal, but should be treated as a motivator to get those hours of fresh air, sunshine and adventure in. Every minute counts, and there are awesome free tracking sheets that you can print out to visually measure your journey to 1000.
Increasing time spent outdoors doesn’t mean you have to plan hiking trips every week or invest in camping gear.
Increasing time outdoors means, taking the reading books, or the crayons and coloring sheets onto your front porch. It means bringing snacks or having a hot cocoa on blanket in the backyard. It means going on a nature scavenger hunt in your neighborhood, or noticing the leaves budding and the birds chirping more loudly or seeing how the shadow of the sun is changing because spring is nearing. Being outdoors and finding inspiration in nature and your surroundings is a healthy mental exercise and being able to share that with your kids is a gift to yourself and to your family.
Getting outside doesn’t have to be packed with activities
Nature already provides so much to take from – but think of being outdoors with intention as a practice that is a healthy, nurturing and bonding opportunity for the wellness of you and your family.
Go on, Moms – stop what you are doing, and go play outside!