When was the last time you packed up the family truckster and took off for a weekend of camping with your clan? If you can’t recall the last time you and your family unplugged, it might be time to plan an outdoor adventure.
Getting out in nature has multiple benefits. It can improve your health and strengthen your relationship with those you hold most dear. Here’s how time outdoors can bring your family together.
1. Leave Big-City Stress Behind
The pandemic may have serious mental health consequences that science has recently begun to identify. Since April of 2020, 84% of Americans have reported symptoms of prolonged stress that can balloon into anxiety, depression, or both. All that pressure chips away at your state of mind, which may have caused a strain on your family over the past two years.
Going camping frees you from the ever-present clock and to-do list. Your stress levels naturally dissipate when you have nowhere to be at any particular time. You can kick back and breathe, restoring your sense of calm and balance, and making you more cheerful around those you love.
2. Improve Your Overall Health
Few things are worse than when a cold or flu rips through your whole family. Spending time outdoors might be the best way to boost your immune response, especially during the pandemic.
Sunlight helps your body produce natural vitamin D — in reality, a hormone. According to Dr. Fauci, one of America’s leading immunologists, this substance is critical to boosting immune function, and the stuff your body makes is far superior to what you’ll find on supplement shelves.
Furthermore, researchers who investigated forest bathers discovered a heightened response in immune cells after spending time overnight in the woods. They believe the magic occurs through phytoncides, substances trees and other plants emit for defense. When humans breathe these molecules, it kicks their system into high gear.
3. Rid Yourself of Distractions
How many times have you tried speaking with your children, only to have them say, “Wait, what?” when they finally look up from their phones? Spending time outdoors brings your family together by getting you off your devices and into the present moment.
Mindfulness is an incredible skill to learn to feel mentally balanced when returning to civilization. It entails grounding yourself in the present moment instead of letting your mind run rampant with future fears or ruminations about an immutable past. Getting outdoors improves your ability to remain in the here and now, engaging with those you love instead of worrying by yourself.
4. Learn New Skills Together
Camping provides plenty of opportunities to hone new skills. Setting up goes more smoothly if you and your kids know how to tie various knots and keep food safely away from sleeping areas.
You can use your time outdoors with your family to learn about the world in which you live. Technology can help. There are apps that can help you identify different plants and their uses for a fun educational opportunity. Give it a try and see what you can discover.
5. Think About Your Role in Life
Finally, time spent outdoors helps you contemplate the big questions. There’s no better place than sitting around the campfire for pondering thoughts like, “What role do I play in the world?”
Use the time you spend together outdoors to enhance your communication with those you love. Spend some time getting philosophical — your kids probably have fascinating thoughts they’d love to share with you in the right environment.
How Time Outdoors Can Bring Your Family Together
Today’s hectic pace of life can leave you feeling disconnected from those you love the most. Why not unplug from modern life and take the family on a hiking or camping trip? Even escaping to your own backyard can be a great place to start. Now that you know how time outdoors can bring your family together, it’s time to reap the benefits.