Last week, we had an opportunity to sign up for summer activities. Carrying our calendar, as others were, the kids and I tried to decide what activities to include. There are a lot of great programs offered, but we had to keep in mind that there are only three months of summer and overscheduling isn’t in the kids’ best interest. It takes a bit of organizing and consideration.
New schedules are a part of most peoples summer planning. Adjusting to them can actually take a bit of time; from a few days, weeks, to even months before you feel comfortable. If at first you find yourself feeling fuzzy or out of sorts, rest assured that you will soon get into the groove of it. I remember when I first started practicing as a counselor, I was advised to always schedule in my lunch. If not, the day would easily fill up with appointments. That message has always stuck with me. At first it seemed unneccessary, but when I began to think I could grab a quick bite in between families or squeeze in just one more kiddo or group, I realized in order to be my best, I had to take a moment to refresh.
Just as we can overlook a lunch break, we often forget about the importance of interacting with nature. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, and doing so can actually help us adjust to new routines. Nature offers therapeutic opportunities to refresh. I remember years ago, when someone wearing Birkenstock shoes was considered a “tree hugger,” today I realize that hugging a tree, touching it or just being near it is critical to our health. It’s grounding. If we consider the deep roots of a tree and how strong and powerful trees are, just being near them is bound to empower us. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Landscape and Human Health Laboratory have compiled evidence that suggests that a connection to nature is vital to our psychological and physical health because it helps recharge our brains making us better able to cope with the stresses in life. (livescience.com) Nature is also said to increase playful activity, decrease aggression and increase our ability to focus.
This summer take advantage of the opportunities to refresh and connect with nature; enjoying water, walking barefoot in the grass, rolling down a hill, lying on the ground watching the clouds, searching for worms or bugs, or any kind of exploring nature. These kinds of activities aren’t just for children and they are as important as any other structured activities we fill our days with. A suggestion ~ try making time in nature a priority this summer by scheduling it in!