“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it. -David Suzuki
March has decided to grace us with some beautiful weather. For months I’ve been telling my therapist that my seasonal depression hasn’t been as bad this winter, but it only takes one day of sunshine to realize how much weight is lifted off my shoulders. I’m especially breathing easier because my niece is due to arrive any day now, and the fear of her coming mid blizzard is starting to ease up. My poor sister has had anxiety about the possibility of being snowed in and in labor during her entire pregnancy.
One thing she and I are really looking forward to is spending some time outside while she’s on her maternity leave. We are hoping to get some vitamin D by walking the Cape Cod Canal, and the waterfront in Plymouth. Trust me, I remember how crazy those first few weeks with a baby are. We are trying to keep our planning minimal and expectations low, while still crossing our fingers for opportunities of time in the fresh air.
With my son’s testing at Boston Children’s Hospital, my own dislocated jaw, (and the following days of being knocked out from the muscle relaxer) and the 5 days my family spent with the flu, I’m behind in the old meditation department. It’s been shown that only 5-10 minutes walking outdoors clears your mind. It’s organic meditation, even when you’re not planning it. Natural sunlight is great for mood, unplugging reduces stress and migraines, and any type of movement or activity releases endorphins associated with productivity while burning calories.
About a year ago I had thought about becoming a Tinkergarten teacher. I enthusiastically believe in their mission of getting kids to interact with nature (and each other) at an early age. Unfortunately Anna was a newborn, and my bipolar treatment was still in the beginning stage. It wasn’t the right time for me to take on the commitment, I needed to focus on fixing my own mind.
Even without teaching a formal class or getting paid, I intend to use some of their lesson plans with my own children. For the last few years, I’ve kept them busy by taking them to a ton of special events. With an untreated bipolar mind, this was my way of making the kids happy and “spend some time with them” without actually sitting down and having one on one conversations. Although events are fun, we are cutting back this summer. I plan to take it easy, and really get out into nature.
One new technique that really stood out to me during my research on wellness is the practice of earthing. Earthing is spending time barefoot outdoors and absorbing the earth’s free electrons from its surface through the soles of your feet. In our region, many people talk about the stress relieving properties of feeling the sand between your toes while at the beach. This theory extends to all types of terrain, and is definitely something my family will be trying this spring. After all, getting dirty benefits your heart, skin, and immune system. Who couldn’t use that?
I leave you today with advice from a tree:
Stand tall and proud,
Go out on a limb.
Remember your roots.
Drink plenty of water,
Be content with your natural beauty,
Enjoy the view.
Looking forward to getting outside,
Kate and the Kids.