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4 Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors With Family

4 Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors With Family

In the last few decades, children are spending less and less time outdoors and more time cooped-up inside. You may remember playing outside until dinnertime as a child. More than ever, with all the technological distractions, it is important to encourage your family to spend time outside together. T

There are many proven benefits of outdoor activities on your children’s development. In addition, sharing outdoor activities together also strengthens your family bond. Whether it is planning a day trip to a state park or spending time in your own backyard, it makes no difference where you go, as long as you are outside.

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    1. It helps the whole family unplug

    In this technological age, it is hard to have some quality family time without someone being attached to their smartphone, tablet or laptop. I know from personal experience that my family (including myself) can spend a whole day glued to our various gadgets and only come up for air during mealtimes.

    Spending time in nature is a great remedy to combat being gadget dependent for everyone in your family. Plan a day trip to somewhere that has limited reception and then declare that this trip is gadget free. You may hear some opposition, but once you get to the destination, everyone will be too busy looking out the window to remember to complain.

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      2. It can aid in reducing your child’s ADHD symptoms

      An increasingly popular alternative treatment for children with ADHD is a technique called “green time” or “green space therapy.” This method simply involves playing outdoors or activities that take place anywhere outside, whether it is a park or backyard. Environmental scientist believe that a child can increase their attention span by being in an environment that reduces many of the distractions that normally occur in their day to day life.

      The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study which required them to interview 452 children with ADHD and their parents. The parents were asked whether the child’s attention changed depending on environmental settings, including indoor versus outdoor. It turns out that no matter the child’s age, where they lived or how severe their ADHD was, their symptoms improved when they were outdoors. Having a child with an attention disorder can be difficult, but spending time outdoors is a helpful solution that you both can enjoy.

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        3. It can help everyone relieve stress

        In a study published in Landscape and Urban Planning, the stress hormone cortisol was measured in 25 Scottish adults. The subjects were asked questions about their daily lives and what stressed them out at home and at work. The results showed that adults living in greener spaces were less likely to be prone to daily stressors in their lives in comparison to their urban-dwelling counterparts.

        I know that when my family and I spend the day outdoors, we are less likely to be snappy at one another and instead enjoy each other’s company. Another contributing factor is that spending time outdoors usually requires some physical activity, whether it is walking or hiking. Exercise has been known to be one of the leading techniques for stress reduction and is a win-win situation for you and your family.

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          4. It can boost everyone’s Vitamin D levels

          It is estimated that over 85 percent of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Increasing your Vitamin D levels can help prevent chronic illnesses like cancer. Vitamin D also helps ward off everyday illnesses, like colds and the flu. The primary way we get our Vitamin D is by exposure to direct sunlight. You can tell a significant difference in your family’s overall physical health when you spend time outdoors, since there is noticeably less sneezing and coughing from all members.

          Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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