We’ve made it to Day 4 in my 10-day series on Self-Care For Homeschooling Moms! As I’ve mentioned before, most of the self-care we’re talking about is relevant to every mom. So if you don’t homeschool; don’t worry. You’ll enjoy this too. Today, we’re talking about self-care in nature.
Frederick Law Olmsted is not a name most people recognize. He grew up in Connecticut, during the 1800s, in a home that loved and appreciated nature. That love of nature turned into Frederick’s becoming the man many consider to be the “founder of landscape architecture.” One of his most famous creations is a natural masterpiece in New York City called Central Park.
Mr. Olmsted is credited as saying, “It is a scientific fact that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character…is favorable to the health and vigor of men and especially to the health and vigor of their intellect.”
Let’s see how you can find out the truth of his words for yourself.
The Physical and Emotional Benefits Of Getting Outside Are Substantial
Just stepping outside and breathing in fresh air has benefits for both body and mind. When you spend time outside in nature and expose yourself to sunshine, your physical body reacts by:
- Increasing energy
- Taking in Vitamin D, which helps build strong bones and decrease depression
- Building your immunity
- Lowering your blood pressure
The benefits to your mind include:
- Decreased stress
- Positive mood
- Increased focus
- Better sleep at night
The Japanese have got it figured out. In Japan, there is a popular new therapy for staying mentally healthy. It’s called Shinrin-yoku. Literally translated, it means “forest bathing.” You can hire a guide and she will take you out into nature and lead you through activities to help you immerse all five senses in nature. This experience is designed to help you fully connect with nature and unlock the benefits that it has to offer.
There are even online Shinrin-yoku nature experiences.
I’ll admit I felt a little silly when I began watching the video, but it actually works!
If you can’t make it outside, nature substitutes are perfectly acceptable
Did you know that the power of nature is so strong that you can get its self-care benefits without going outside? It’s true. Research shows that looking at photos of nature and listening to recordings of sounds from nature are also good at helping your mind relax and reduce stress. It’s not quite as effective as the real thing but, in a pinch, is a great alternative.
To put this into practice, transform your home into a nature sanctuary by decorating with beautiful landscapes and potted plants. Be sure to keep a stash of fresh, outdoor-smelling scents and create a natural ambiance by softly playing nature soundtracks for background noise in your home.
Now, turn this into a learning experience for your homeschool. Teach your kids how to
- recognize famous natural landmarks around the world
- name and recognize common indoor and outdoor plants
- identify animals by their sound
- identify common herbs by their smell
Getting Outside Can Be As Simple Or Adventurous As You’d Like It To Be
When I think of getting outdoors, I imagine the big stuff like long hikes and weekend camping trips. But getting out in nature doesn’t have to be a big production. It definitely can, and should be, when you have the time. But there are other ways to be in nature.
Start with your back yard. When time is an issue and you need a quick nature fix, go with your kids outside to play. Designate a corner of your back yard as your spot to relax. Add comfortable seating, or even a hammock, to make it more enjoyable. Then just breathe.
On days when you have more time, take the kids to the park or on an easy hike. Parks are not only great outdoor spaces, but they also give you and your kids a chance to have some social interaction.
It is a scientific fact that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character…is favorable to the health and vigor of men and especially to the health and vigor of their intellect.Frederick Law Olmsted
Suggestions For Getting Outside When The Weather Is Challenging
What do you do when it’s too hot or too cold outside? There are some that would say to get out no matter what the weather is like. All it takes is the right clothing and preparation.
If you are a person that can do that, I deeply admire you. Personally, I’m not that adventurous.
If you’re like me, here are a few ideas for experiencing nature when the weather is not ideal.
- Visit a local conservatory or botanical garden
- Visit an aquarium
- Take a scenic drive
- Incorporate nature scenes into your home decor
- Find a coffee table book full of photos of beautiful nature scenes
- Buy a few more house plants
- Get a scented candle that uses one of your favorite outdoor scents
- Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers to display where you will see them often
- Open curtains or blinds to bring in as much natural light into your home as possible
- Find a quiet spot and play a recording of nature sounds
I hope this helps you realize that there are so many ways to enjoy the beauty of nature. Whatever you choose, your mind will thank you for it.
Also, don’t forget to check the rest of the Tips for Homeschooling Moms series. There are so many fantastic bloggers with so much great information to make your homeschool life happy.
More on self-care in nature:
- National Geographic’s article This Is Your Brain On Nature
- For more information on Shinrin-yoku check out this Time Magazine article.
You’ll Also Love:
- Don’t miss the entire 10 Days of Self-Care For Homeschooling Moms series!
- Reading To Relax: A Guide to Self-Care Through Books