When was the last time you got out into the wild and open spaces of our nation and took advantage of our park system? Let me tell you that if you have not done this you are missing out big time. One way that I absolutely love to relax and reset is to get out into open spaces. Open spaces to me, means places like National or State Parks. Our country has the pleasure of having 58 National Parks (and get this!) 6,624 State Parks at our disposal. I can almost guarantee that you have a park of some kind within driving distance of you right now.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean” -John Muir
Getting out into nature or these open spaces allows us to pause the constant noise of society and affords us the opportunity to engage our senses and explore our natural world. There is nothing like going out into the wild closing your eyes and just listening. I am willing to bet that most of us do not take the time to sit or stand and just listen, pause, reflect, and reset ourselves. This can be easily done by getting outside (does not have to be back country) and simply exploring. For those of you who say, “But I have small children I cannot do that,” my answer is yes you can! Most parks are children and family friendly and welcome people of all ages. They will rate trails for you and let you know which paths are more kid-friendly.
One of my goals in this venture is to show families with children that they can access these great open spaces with little prep and relative ease. You can easily make a family day, vacation, or outdoor activity fun for the whole family. One idea is to pack a picnic lunch and make an outdoor scavenger hunt with certain things that the kids have to find. (This activity can also help keep kids engaged throughout a hike). If you do not know what parks are local or easily accessible in your city go to the National Park Services Website for help (listed below). Like-wise, you can access your state parks via the link posted below.
Takeaway: Find an hour that you can spend in nature in the next two weeks. If you’re not sure where you can go, click on a link above to find a park near you. Your city website could also have parks and recreational areas available for you. Plan something outside and go do it. By yourself, with a significant other, with a friend or your family… just get outside and spend some time in nature. Leave your phone in the car or take it with you but turn it off so that you can enjoy your time without being interrupted.