check in with nature to connect with your Family & Yourself!
There has been a dramatic shift with the amount of hours an average person spends outdoors. 2 hours - just 2 hours a week spending in nature and they saw a difference!
What are some of the specific benefits?
Studies have found that exposure to nature is: immune boosting, could improve your ability to focus, lowers blood pressure, may help fight depression and anxiety, eliminates fatigue, and has demonstrated de-stressing effects - all especially helpful right now!
Connecting with nature is not just good for us, it’s good for the earth itself. After understanding the impact of nature on our health, people start to care more about the environment and value this impact, in that wanting to protect it.
Now there are even programs giving prescriptions of the outdoors. In an interview speaking about outdoor prescriptions she gives to her patients, Oakland CA pediatrician, Doctor Nooshin Razani states; “If you take an urban adult into a forest, within 15 minutes, you see improvements in cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate.” Through the SHINE program (as shared through Ted Talks), a program promoting outdoor prescription programs in 34 states, Razani completed one of the first randomized trials and found that, “Every park visit resulted in improved stress for parents. And every park visit resulted in improved resilience for a child. But it didn't matter if they came with us or they went on their own.”
All in all, nature has a robust effect on one’s mental, physical, and emotional wellness. With that in mind, if you do have access to the great outdoors during this time, we highly suggest you go outside. Use our “Nature Check-in” activity and variations written below and add them into your nature walk with your families. Enjoy!
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
What is a "Nature Check-in"?
Nature check-ins involve looking at nature and turning pieces of nature into metaphors for how you and you child are feeling.
The check-in statement may change based on what you would like to talk through with your child, and changing the statement helps guide the check-in. For example:
Some other possibilities - perhaps your child finds a group of sticks that represent family members and then shares how they feel through the sticks. Perhaps, a budding leaf reminds them the love they feel for their new baby sibling, two birds singing together reminds them of how much they love singing with their family, or a line of ants working together reminds them they feel good helping out around the house.
Tip: You never know what your child may find or create with your support. Go along with their ideas, join in their creativity, and ask them questions to learn more and help them go deeper. After the excursion, you may want to learn how to dry the wildflowers they found, paint their rocks, or turn their findings into a piece of art that is added to each week. The opportunities are endless!