Research shows that being outside in nature provides stress relief. Many people think enjoying the outdoors means a miles-long hike through the woods or camping out in a tent.
Fortunately, nature is all around us wherever we go, even in our own backyards. Whether your family loves tech, athletics, social functions, or even the arts, there are plenty of ways to connect with nature.
Get the benefits of connecting with Nature using:
1. Education and Technology: Nature inspired apps like Leafsnap, PlantNet, Botany Buddy, or Google Lens are great tech tools to encourage children and teens to explore nature while learning about their environment in a fun and interactive way.
2. Exercise and Adventure: Exercise can help release energy and regulate mood, while adventure can satisfy the drive to seek new experiences and take risks. Whether it’s as simple as riding bikes or swimming, or enjoying more adventurous options such as ropes courses, ziplines, rock walls, or water parks, being outside presents a variety of healthy options to satisfy these drives.
3. Arts and Creativity: Those who prefer more artistic activities can create arts and crafts such as leaf etchings, flower pressing, or painting outdoors, while others can accomplish building creations such as bird feeders, bird houses, or even bug motels.
4. Social/Educational Activities for the Whole Family: Northern NJ has so much to offer year-round! There are farm tours, maple sugaring demonstrations, ice sculpture exhibits, zoos, cherry blossom festivals, sunflower mazes, apple picking, hayrides, hiking trails, and even botanical gardens.
5. Your own backyard: Try this simple exercise to experience the healing power of nature, and relax your mind. Find a comfortable spot to stand or sit outside. Consciously choose to listen to the sounds around you and focus intently on the quality of each sound. Choose to stop the stream of thinking that is always flowing in your mind. Bring your full attention to just the sounds of nature around you. Listen. Listen. Listen. Do this for 1-5 minutes for a quick mind-calming activity.
Regardless of age, size, or activity level, there are lots of things for everyone in your family to enjoy outside. Whether it’s solo, as a family, or even with a group of friends, everyone can take advantage of the healing qualities of the environment around us.
Here’s to your Well Being,
Natalie Edelhauser, LCSW