Thursday, February 27, 2014

Parenting Tip - Get Outside

This is a blog post for anyone who is a little down in the dumps.  Or sad.  Or worried.  Or stressed. Or mad.             
That's my advice.  I know it helps because I've been there before; mad, sad, stressed and worried, and every time, I'll come home from a walk feeling lighter, happier and more hopeful.

A few years ago when I turned 40, I became worried about all the candy bars I had--and was still--eating.  I decided I needed to take charge of my life, if I wanted to have a healthy old age.  So I started walking in the mornings, and I haven't quit.  I love walking!

Then when I turned 50, I started hiking once a week with a friend.  I love hiking!  You're out in nature, you see God's handiwork and you talk and talk with a friend.  It's even better than eating a candy bar!

 When I'm walking or hiking my outlook changes.  My perspective broadens and I'm not microscoping in on my problems. 

 In fact, my problems shrink in size when I look at mountain tops and gaze down into valleys.  When I walk by cacti, flowers and trees, I see God's love for me in a wide lens. I feel stronger, able to handle my situation.  I feel gratitude for God and see His tender mercies in my life.  I start to see analogies in nature and relate them to my life.  I'm energized!

But sometimes it's impossible to go for a walk either because of health issues, kid issues or time constraints.  So here are some good, better, best options when the outdoors are just not available.

Good:  Sit by the window and look outside at the sky, the clouds, the birds and the trees and flowers.
Better:  Pull up the blinds and really look outside, up and down, back and forth.
Best:  Put on some music and admire the great outdoors, thoroughly enjoying the sky, flowers and trees.

If you are able to go for a walk, here are some good, better, best options as well.

Good: Walk slow to begin with, then increase your pace.
Better:  As you walk, notice nature.  Look up and enjoy the sky and clouds. Notice the birds.  Look at the architecture of the houses and buildings you pass by.
Best:  Find a beautiful park to walk in and listen to  music or a podcast as you walk.  Jog for a few seconds, here and there during your walk.  Enjoy nature.

And finally, if you can go for a hike:

Good:  Go with a friend.  Talk about cooking, problems, frustrations.  
Better:  Notice the birds and rabbits and lizards.  Draw strength and serenity from the open sky, the mountains, the trees. Gaze down from your trail and see how small everything looks below.  Notice how far you have come.  
Best:  Suddenly your problems and cares become miniscule and your heart enlarges and expands with love and optimism. 

Thanks for reading.....
Now go walking,


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