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Green Stress Relief—Family Style

By Linda Brown-Kuhn
January 20, 2009
File under: exercise, Family Time, Health

family_walk.jpg

Without a doubt times are difficult. Stress levels are up among parents in many households and that percolates down to the kids eventually.  One easy green way I’ve found to diffuse anxieties within my family unit, at least temporarily, is to get the whole gang outside.

I know this strategy works for me as I’m a long time walker, lucky enough to live in a forested rural area with babbling streams criss-crossing the road. I’ve walked dogs, kids, and sometimes dogs and kids together for years. Getting outdoors and opening my senses to the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations takes my mind off any worries and is like balm to my spirit.

Sometimes I play a game with my kids to get them to really “see” and appreciate their natural surroundings. When we’re outside on the move I ask them to each find one amazing thing. They always do, without fail. Whether it’s a turkey vulture gliding overhead, a delicate snowflake, or a red fox emblazoned against the white landscape, we find special bits of nature. On a recent walk my 7-year-old daughter asked me, “Can we find 10 amazing things?” You bet we did.

Even if your kids are too young or too old to play such a game, letting them loose to run around, be with each other, and just breathe in some fresh air should allow everyone to let off steam. True, connecting with nature isn’t going to solve your problems but it may be a calming (and free) diversion that helps bring your family a little bit closer.

 
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