To Be More Joyful: Get Outside

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Wanting to be a more joyful mom? Looking for some relief from that “postal” feeling you have from time to time? Hoping that your children remember your smile more than your crabby, naggy disposition?

You and me both, Sister.

Motherhood is a challenging job, no doubt. But the rewards can be amazing. If we know where to look for them and have eyes to see them when they’re there.

One way to find more joy is simply to get outside.

Sometimes the cares of hearth and home can drag us down. You may keep an immaculate home or you may be digging yourself out. You may be super organized or you may be a work in progress.

Regardless, in the quest for more joy in our lives as MOMS, it’s good to step outside our four walls and take a long look around us. Perhaps you can take a hike in the woods, a walk along the beach or simply a loop around the block.

Make it a family outing.

Taking your children with you can be a wonderful change of pace for all of you. Recent excursions for our family have included trips to the park, skipping rocks in the river, and walking along the cliffs at the beach. The kids get exercise — and run off excess energy — and we all come home full of fresh air and tired in a good way.

Yes, there’s work involved when you all head out to the Great Outdoors. But, generally speaking, I’ve never found an outdoors outing to be a true failure. Now, a grocery shopping trip? That’s another story.

I’m not really a nature girl, but I’ve found that it’s a good thing to explore with my kids. They run and laugh and play. And I have a good time watching them. And skipping a few rocks of my own.

Recently, we planted a small planter of tomatoes and basil. FishBoy6 loves to help me water. We stand in the sunshine, get wet, and talk.

Weather trends may be against you during certain seasons, but there’s almost always a way to enjoy being outside if you’re tooled up appropriately. You may need to bookmark and reference it often. But the rewards to being outside on a regular basis are huge.

Find the place that soothes you.

Different locations appeal to different people. Does the beach relax you? Head there if you can. Prefer a hike in the woods, then get out. Whatever scenery is your style, find a way to make it more of a habit in your life.

I love the afternoon breeze and to relax on a blanket or in a hammock. But, I realized that the park is not the place to do this. I need to be counting heads or spotting climbers at all times. But, my backyard is a safe bet for letting the kids play while I relax in our shady nook.

And don’t be afraid to go it alone. If the kids are cared for, take off on your own (or take hubby with you), and stroll along the sand sans children. Moments away from the family yet still enjoying nature can be doubly refreshing.

Where do YOU go to rest your soul and refresh?

** This is part of the series, 14 Ways To Be More Joyful.

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  1. There are lots of big, and little, State and National Parks in our area (NE Florida). I usually try to make a trip to one or more each week. Many are free (!) and the rest are quite inexpensive. My kids love exploring and so do I and my husband.

  2. The beach…most definitely the beach. It’s a lot of work beforehand (my kids are 3 and 4) and cleaning up afterwards, but for the 4 or 5 hours we’re at the beach, the kids get my undivided attention and we play, laugh, create, and take in the beauty of God’s creation…and it is the best of times hands down. We live in So. Cal so almost every day is a great day to go to the beach. 🙂

  3. whoo not when it’s 90 degrees outside 🙂 I’m more of an A/C girl- but we have no beach or anything 🙂

  4. We have a great front porch that is shaded and cool during the afternoon. This past week I found myself out there everyday during naps getting a little work done on the computer or just kicking back and reading. I’m loving the cool afternoons outside!
    This week I’m thinking morning devotions and a cup of tea sound wonderful out front!

  5. It’s such a hassle to make it out to the beach on weekends. For a few years I didn’t even go and it’s only 30 minutes away. Recently, I’ve made an effort to go more often and am sooo happy I have made the effort.

  6. First of all I live in Arizona. Its going to be 106 today. We cannot go outside and we are very bitter about that. But anyway, my kids are teenagers so how do I even begin to get them to do stuff as a family other than going to the mall for lunch???

    1. @Debbie,
      I’m with you on the teenager thing- and my 3 (2 girls, one boy) aren’t all there yet! One thing we’ve done is sat everyone down (which is a feat in and of itself!) and asked them what THEY thought was a fun thing to do as a family. Hubby and I know what we think would be fun, but it has been more productive to ask the kids what they think. I’m shocked at what they have come up with: renting a golf cart in a nearby town and riding around all day; lighting sparklers and making s’mores in our little outdoor fire pit; they all love to play Clue and Smart Mouth and Apples to Apples; and they love to make their own homemade pizza. Our only “rule” is no electronic devices (unless we are watching a movie, of course). Sometimes it takes a little time for everyone to “get into the mood” of a family activity, but eventually, we all let loose and allow ourselves to have fun with our very own family!

  7. I live in the rainy NW, and it’s rarely sunny out. It’s depressing, yet useful. I get to blame my bad moods and crankiness on the gray skies!

  8. Growing up on the gulf-coast of Florida, I SOOO miss my beaches. Now that I live in Ohio and have for a number of years, I can still go to my ‘happy place’ of scalding hot sand under my back and the smell of suntan oil.

    Almost as much, I love the farmland, trees, gardens, birds and butterflies in the summer, and am still amazed by snow. When I’m stressed, I walk outside (if I’m not there already) and breath, just breath! The increased oxygen in my lungs just clears my brain out.

    Good stuff, thanks for this series.

  9. I love going to our backyard, sitting on the swing, and admiring the view: birds flitting around, the garden hubs has worked so hard on, and my youngest boy investigating everything out there. 🙂