Make Spending Time in Nature a Priority this Holiday

We have reached that busy, exciting, tiring time of year again, but with an extra twist of stress. Not only are the holidays fast approaching, we also have virtual learning, social distancing, and drastically changing holiday plans on our minds as we weather the storm of this global pandemic. So how do you stay sane and calm with so much uncertainty surrounding you? That’s where the power of the outdoors comes in. Whether your family could use an attitude adjustment, a sense of normalcy, or the therapeutic effects of spending time in nature, stepping out your front door can make all the difference. Our community members share how the power of the outdoors has helped them through the stress of this year. We hope this gives you inspiration to continue to get outside safely in the coming weeks and beyond. 

The Therapeutic Effects of Spending Time in Nature

  • “Getting outside is incredibly therapeutic for us. There’s no dishes or laundry, there’s no distracting tv or tablets. Just us exploring, talking & exercising. We are always calmer and happier on days we get outside! Rain or shine, beach or mountains…we love it all!” –   Anastasia from Boring, Oregon
  • “Outside time for us as a family is like therapy. Everyone’s mood is better, irritability is much less, we can all feel less tension and stress; even our kids notice it. Each of us has something we love to do by ourselves; whether it’s fishing, digging in the dirt, hiking, or painting the landscape. Then we come together to enjoy those things as a family and it reminds us that we DO get along and we DO still like each other.” –  Alex from Salt Lake City, UT
  • “Simply by being outside for hours and hours and days at a time engages all of my senses – particularly sight. There are so many views to behold and be grateful for.” – Mirna Valerio (Read Mirna’s story here)
  • “Being outside is a stabilizing force in our family. It gives us an outlet for excess energy, it brings joy when we are feeling sad or grumpy, and it spurs our imagination and creativity. If we’re in an ugly place by mid-morning or post-nap, it’s time to strap on shoes and throw on jackets.” – Megan from Colonie, NY

“I notice how much better my 3-year-old (and I!) sleeps if we have spent a few hours outdoors. And although in-person hikes are currently paused, I love having the Hike It Baby community to get ideas of where my family can explore in our local area. Especially as the seasons change!” –   Emily from Tokyo, Japan

  • “Getting outside is like hitting the refresh button. It’s a time to explore, relax, listen, run, and play. It’s fun exploring new places and watching the seasons change.” –  Beth from Pittsburgh, PA

 

An Instant Attitude Adjustment

  • “Starting our mornings outside changes our entire mindset for the day! We put life and responsibilities on hold to take care of ourselves first. We bond, enjoy what nature has in store for us and usually end up in good moods that last throughout the day.” –  Lynze from Richmond, VA

“Instant attitude adjustment—for me! Going outside and moving around gives me a reset to my mood and energy.” –  Jocelyn from Framingham, MA

  • “We definitely notice a difference in mood on outdoor vs indoor days – I think he sleeps better and has a cheerier demeanor the days we get in at least an hour of outdoor play, less meltdowns etc! He hardly notices rain, cold or dark (now that the days are getting shorter) he’ll play until we can barely see each other.” – Mayrita from Capital Region, NY
  • “Ruby comes alive in the outdoors. I can tell she feels free and I watch her take it all in. Rocks, sand, dirt, leaves, trees, you name it she will touch it.” Melody Forsyth (Read Melody’s story here
  • “When you have toddlers, emotions get big. Going outside seems to help, as if the walls keep their feelings from dispersing. Going outside helps with my high energy kids, too. As they say, ‘kids can’t bounce off the walls if there are no walls’. I feel it too.  Even just going outside to blow a few bubbles or walk to the end of the street and back makes a huge difference. When we don’t do these things, everything just seems like a bigger struggle. To be completely honest, I feel like I yell more when we don’t get enough outdoor time.” – Nicole from Knoxville, TN
  • “My children have better focus and I have more patience when we get outdoors!” –  Karen from Lancaster County, PA

A Sense of Normalcy During Chaos

  • “Though we’ve always enjoyed time spent outside, it has felt even more imperative to our overall well being during this pandemic. Most days feel so mundane and routine, but the possibilities in nature are endless (especially with a toddler with an ever-expanding imagination), and seeing the landscapes and seasons change is a much-needed reminder that this, too, will [hopefully] not be permanent, as much as it may feel that way at times.”  – Kristen from Chicago, IL
  • “Our kids ask to go outside almost every day, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about the impact it had on our life – until the wildfires this summer caused the Air Quality Index in Seattle to be the worst I’ve ever seen and kept us inside for a week. That first walk outside after a week of it not being an option felt almost giddy and I’ve made more of an effort to emphasize outside time in the evenings now. I think it makes our family of four kinder, more patient, and better sleepers when we get outside time on a regular basis.”  Shannon from Seattle, WA

“Hiking has kept our family from going crazy during the pandemic. Seeing the natural landscape reboots our brain, the fresh air makes us feel rejuvenated. We are socially isolated because we want to protect my 83 yo mom (lives with us) and my 89 yo dad (he is still independent!).” –  Emma from San Diego, CA

  • “We love being able to go hiking and forget about our worries of rising COVID cases, schools going back to remote, and other issues. We have found many trails that aren’t frequented by others and it feels so safe just being out in the woods by ourselves.” – Valerie from Adirondack Coast, NY
  • “Being outside has given our family a sense of normalcy. When we are out playing, as long as we are far away from others, it’s like nothing in our world has changed.” – Emylee from Mukilteo, WA

For more inspiration to take advantage of the amazing, restorative power of spending time in nature head over to L.L. Bean Outside.  You’ll find inspiring stories of the power of nature and community along with tips and tricks for fulfilling new outdoor experiences.


About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors, and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013, Hike it Baby is a growing community of 270,000 families and over 400 volunteer branch ambassadors. More information, as well as outdoor engagement events, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Jessica Shaefer Human, Krystal Weir, and Tais Kulish.

This post was sponsored by L.L. Bean.


Editors Note:
We hope you enjoyed reading this article from Hike it Baby. We’re working hard to provide our community with content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain you.
But content is not free. It’s built on the hard work and dedication of writers, editors, and volunteers. We make an investment in developing premium content to make it easier for families with young children to connect with nature and each other. We do not ask this lightly, but if you can, please make a contribution and help us extend our reach.

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