This guest post was written by the team at Standard Dose, a marketplace dedicated to elevating wellness through mindful practices and carefully-vetted products.
There’s nothing quite like spending time outside. On a beautiful day, we’re energised by the sun. After a period of rain, the air smells fresh, and our favourite plants and trees appear even more vibrant. Getting outdoors is proven to have a range of positive effects on our overall well-being, especially when it comes to stress relief. Phytoncides, the aromatic oils released by plants and trees, actually helpdecrease the levels of stress hormonesin our bodies.
Time spent in nature also presents the opportunity for mindfulness. From pausing to notice some flowers, to witnessing the sound of our footsteps and listening to birds chirp, nature allows us to reconnect with ourselves and the world around us. For children, time outside is a fun and simple way to begin practicing mindfulness, while nurturing empathy and self-awareness in the process. Below are four ways to introduce your child to the many benefits of being outdoors:
A scavenger hunt that focuses on the senses is a great place to start! Moving slowly through one sense at a time, encourage your children to observe what they smell, hear, and see. From the smell of flowers to a bird or a deer, your child will discover the endless beauty of nature in this short activity. For extra fun, you can print off a visual checklist and encourage them to look for certain items like a flower, a log, or a bird.
For the final sense, touch, you can practice grounding, the act of walking barefoot on the earth. Find a clear patch of sand or grass, and ask your children how this feels. This practice has added benefits, too, as grounding may help boost the immune system.
Another mindful activity you can do outdoors? Simply taking time to watch the clouds. Lay a blanket out in a park or your backyard, and lie down facing the sky. As you and your children observe the clouds, breathe in and out slowly. You can even ask your children if the clouds look like something else to them, allowing them to tune into their imaginations.
There’s so much to observe when we look closely. Bring a pair of small binoculars on your next nature walk, and let your children use them to look at wildlife. On the walk home, ask them what they noticed.
From drawing on the sidewalks with chalk to creating a picture on the ground with acorns, flowers, and other natural elements, making art is a fun way to be mindful. Creating a new work of art involves careful focus and attention, which is exactly what mindfulness is all about.
Rain, shine, or snow, nature has endless lessons to teach us. Try setting aside dedicated time each week to get outside with your children. As they practice mindfulness in this way, they’ll develop a stronger sense of empathy, learn to better navigate their emotions, and find relief from stress. What better reasons are there to enjoy our beautiful earth?
Looking for more like this? Visit standarddose.com to discover wellness products and experiences for the whole family. You can also check out our blog, The Drop, for authentic stories, mindful practices for self-healing, and the answers to your questions about the latest trends.