Get Energized with Nature

VW Campervan family camping

The other day it started to rain. I immediately thought “oh no, what a bummer.” I then said out loud “Ugh, it’s raining”. My oldest daughter who was out of the room jumps up from her toys and races out of the room and yells “ITS’S RAINING!!!” She immediately starts putting on her rubber boots, grabs her little sisters rubber boots and throws them at her to put on. She is ready to head outside.

I was embarrassed with myself. I am a huge advocate for all weather play and getting outside with your children no matter what the weather. When I was teaching physical education to highschool students and it was raining we always still went outside no matter how much they protested. What I loved was that eventually after being outside their grumbles would turn into laughter as they would slip and slide during our rainy outdoor activities.

Rain and toddlers quote

Anyways I was embarrassed with myself for two reasons. 1. My negative attitude about the weather could have rubbed off on my daughters. They might start to become the child who only enjoys activities if they meet the perfect criteria. 2. Outdoor play is so important for everyone. This does not just mean for my children or my students but also for me. Its refreshing, uplifts your spirit and is energizing. If you want some proof just check out this research paper from Rochester University “Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows”. Getting out into nature is said to get you energized more than coffee!! (I think I will take both though. Nature with a side of coffee).

When more than half the year is cold with snow or rain where we live I would be putting a huge limit on my time outside and enjoying the natural energizer. That is not acceptable! I can physically tell when I have hardly engaged with the outdoors for a few days. I am not my usual energetic self and can become down. I guess that is why the Chinese enjoy Shinrin-Yoku which means Forest bath. The Chinese use Forest Bathing as a way of decreasing stress, elevating mood and increasing the immune system. LA times featured Forest Bathing in their article “Forest bath’ is a way to let nature cleanse away stress.”

I am so thankful that my daughter reminded me of the importance of getting outside no matter what the weather. It is so important for their health and for mine that we engage with our natural surroundings everyday. It always amazes me what my children teach me and how important it is to listen to these little teachings.

Rain… Snow… Wind… When you see those elements do you still take your kids outside? What are your barriers to getting outside?

 

By Annika Mang
By Annika Mang

 

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