Being in touch with the natural world has measurable mental, emotional, and health benefits. If you and your family have been cooped up and need an opportunity to reconnect with mother nature, consider a vacation or staycation somewhere that gives you access to activities in the great outdoors.
Eliminating Nature Deficit Disorder
While not a recognized medical condition, according to Education.com, the thinking behind the theory of nature deficit disorder is that kids today are spending less time in nature — with the result being more troubling behavior issues. Some experts link this to an over-abundance of screen time, video games, and other indoor and electronics-related activities that take the place of good, old-fashioned outdoor play. Chances are, as a parent, you recognize changes in your children’s personalities when they’ve had too much “e-time.” Making a nature-focused trip can help you assess if more outside time does indeed have a positive impact on your family.
Benefits of A Getaway
According to the Art of Healthy Living, getting away from your regular routine and surroundings can take the whole family to a different place — not only physically but mentally and emotionally, as well. You won’t feel the pull of different things vying for your attention, like housework, homework, favors from friends of neighbors, or the everyday hectic pace of life. Make a pact to put away — or at least limit — screens and phones so you can reconnect as a family, giving one another your full and undivided attention. Opt instead for board games, journaling, or other low-tech ways to “be” with one another.
Finding Your Family Bliss
Whether your family craves exciting outdoor adventures like kayaking, mountain biking, or ziplining or prefers more subdued flower-hunting nature walks, houseboat cruises, or lying on the beach, being outdoors and getting fresh air and sunlight is a great way to bond, recharge, and refresh.
Deciding What To Do
Find a place to stay other than a hotel, like a cabin or a vacation rental where you can unplug, and have a healthy getaway. If there are certain places you want to explore, find a spot with easy access. A rental that includes a kitchen or kitchenette gives you the chance to prepare your own healthy meals together, rather than relying on restaurants and fast food. This is a great opportunity to check out local markets and experiment as a family with healthy new recipes. You might even consider cooking outside over a campfire or on a gas grill to change up your culinary palette.
When you're searching for vacation rentals and you aren’t quite sure what attractions will appeal to you, you'll find search tabs on platforms like Turnkey that allow you to check out attractions around the rental properties you’re considering. Look for activities that everyone can enjoy or allow each family member to pick an “adventure of the day” that aligns with their personal interests. Alternatively, pick a day to do nothing but go for walks, sit outside, and read or meditate in solitude, preferably outdoors where you can soak up the sun.
We all tend to spend a great deal of time being cooped up indoors. Getting back to nature can have a rejuvenating effect, promote family bonding, and allow you to be in the healing presence of the natural world. If you’re looking for creative ways to jump-start your “unplugged” activities, visit Brain Blox for educational toys and games that will engage the whole family.
[The above article was contributed by Jenny Miller. You can find more about nature deficit disorder at StopNDD.org]
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