In this post Debi Huang of Go Explore Nature reminds us of the importance of regular quiet time spent outdoors – time to just be.
It’s no secret that life as a parent today is busy. In most cases, it’s crazy busy. Rare are the times when we stop to allow ourselves to just BE. I for one tend to fill even my “down time” with a never-ending to do list – wash clothes, wash dishes, fold clothes, grocery shop, clean up the piles of stuff accumulating in every room of my home, reply to emails, and on and on.
What happened to just doing nothing?
Truth is, unless we make time to do nothing, we’re never going to actually do it. And yet without the chance to slow down and recharge, we run ourselves ragged. We get tired, cranky, angry. Maybe even sick.
Adults aren’t the only ones who need to be doing less these days. Kids are busy too, and not just teenagers. My two school-age sons often complain of being tired and wanting to just do nothing – and we’re some of the least busy people I know!
But having unstructured time in your life is important. When we allow ourselves to just be, we gift ourselves the chance to relax and unwind, which leads to calm, inspiration and creativity.
I actually love doing nothing. It’s just really hard to do it when I’m indoors looking around at all the things I could be doing. The only way for my family to really slow down and stop all the doing is to head outside.
I don’t mean planning some big outing that has to be scheduled into the weekly calendar or scouring the Web to find a great, age-appropriate nature activity (though those are both perfectly wonderful things to do!).
I mean being outside for just a few minutes at a time without any game plan. No set agenda. No pre-determined place to explore or game to play. That’s the point: To go outside and be. I dare you not to take your phone, or even a camera. Instead, simply enjoy the moment.
If you’re wondering what doing nothing outside looks like, here are some of the ways we do it:
- Lie down on the grass and watch the clouds.
- Go for a walk with no destination in mind.
- Find a bird and watch it for a few minutes.
- Smell a flower.
- Stare up at the sky from under a tree.
- Feel the wind in your hair.
- Walk barefoot around your front or backyard.
- Close your eyes for a few minutes and just listen.
- Sit down and read under a tree.
- Make a wish on a dandelion.
Give yourselves as much time as feels right. Some days it may be just a few minutes; other days you might not want to head back inside.
How do you like to enjoy some quiet time outside?