The outdoors have meant different things to me at different points in my life, but one common aspect is that it has always helped me reset and recharge from a busy life and world. When my husband and I were dating and newly married we would head out almost every weekend to escape from our 50+ hour work weeks. Getting outside and being in the wilderness was always something that brought us so much happiness and peace. Camping, hiking, rock climbing, whatever we were doing it felt like the further we went into nature the more the background noise of life just kind of disappeared. There’s truly something to be said when you don’t have cell service and you can just immerse yourself in the wilderness. For me, that is the optimal feeling of what getting outside is all about!
Beat the Blues by Getting Outside
As life went on and I became a first time mama, life got even more stressful- which of course it always does! I can still remember the crippling anxiety I felt some days. I completely stopped doing everything I loved and even though I loved my baby more than anything else - it felt like I had lost myself. One stressful afternoon my son was crying for what seemed like hours on end and nothing I was doing was helping him. I called my husband in tears telling him I didn’t have what it takes to be a mom. I felt so frustrated and defeated that I couldn’t soothe my baby’s little soul. His words were so simple, all he said was “take him outside.” Reluctantly I walked into our backyard and placed him on a blanket and laid in the grass and you know what? He stopped crying… and so did I.
While this story may seem silly at first it meant the world to me. I finally had this desire to start hiking again and I wanted to be outside as much as possible doing what I used to love. I wanted to start going on our adventures again and find ways to start bringing our little man with us. I wanted to show him our favorite places and have him fall in love with them too. It definitely wasn’t always easy to bring a newborn camping and hiking with us, and there were some days that I wondered if all the hard work was worth it...but I’ve seen how it can completely change all of our attitudes once we are out. We all feel different after we’ve spent a day or weekend outside.
Every woman walks a different postpartum experience and for me when it felt like I had lost myself, getting outside with my kids was what gave me strength and healing mentally and physically. I found new strength in myself as a mother. As we continued to grow our family and added another baby I’ve made it a priority to continue to take them outside as much as I can. Even now on days that feel hard, on days we have toddler meltdowns, days I have mommy meltdowns, or days we are all just bored and need a “reset” we go outside. The lessons they can learn from the outdoors are priceless.
How Getting Outside Can Help Your Children
Just some of the benefits the outdoors can have for your children:
- Improves mood
- Natural source of vitamin D from the sunshine
- Simple form of exercise + gets them away from screens
- Lets them be creative + use their imagination
- Teaches them to be resilient + strong
- Stimulates their mind - they can see, touch, feel, smell the world around them
- Gives them confidence learning new skills
Getting outside doesn’t have to be extravagant, it can be as simple as a walk around the block, playing in the park, walking down to the river etc. Start small and find simple ways to incorporate more outside nature play into your days. I’ve seen my kids learn and grow so much on our outdoor adventures and I love giving them new experiences to let them run wild and let their imaginations be free. It’s become so important to me and something we all look forward to. So I challenge you to find some way to get outside with your kids today! Life can be stressful and chaotic and busy… but nothing is more important than the time and love we give to our children.
By Melanie Gagon
About the Author: Melanie was born and raised in Utah and has been exploring the outdoors and going on adventures with her family for years. She has a BA in American Literature and a passion for writing. She’s a mother of two energetic boys that love the mountains and Utah desert just as much as she does. Her and her husband enjoy the simple life and love raising their family in the wild outdoors. You can follow their family adventures at, www.ourswell.life and on instagram at @ourswell.life