Winfields’ Outdoors are currently running a wonderful campaign promoting the benefits that embracing the outdoors can have on mental health. Their Walk & Talk campaign has been created to encourage outdoors activity, family time and exploration as a way of restoring positivity. Maintaining good mental health is incredibly important, and relatively simple steps like going for a walk can help clear the mind and release endorphins. Even better, walking with friends or family is the perfect opportunity to embrace the Walk & Talk ethos be it catching up, sharing a particular concern or having a giggle.
I love the concept of this campaign. I had my first experience of struggling with my own mental health last year and believe this was partly due to the fact that I had neglected my own physical and outdoor interests since having my second child. A part of me had decided ‘I can’t do all the things I used to enjoy now that I have a family in tow.’ So, if like me, you’re a lover of the outdoors but are putting off embarking on your next adventure because you have small people to care for…get wrapped up and take that walk…even if it’s just to the park. Today the park, tomorrow..who knows!
Here’s a few things that have helped me stay more positive and present whilst enjoying time outdoors with my family as we Walk & Talk. I hope you’ll find some inspiration to do the same.
Take your time: Try to enjoy the experience rather than focusing on getting anywhere in a hurry. Let your children take the lead. Children are incredibly inquisitive and taking time to stop and fascinate at the smallest details on your journey will help you slow down and focus on the moment.
Embrace your senses: Take time to listen to the birds and elements in their natural environment. Ask your children about what they can hear. Sometimes their perspective is completely different and eye opening in comparison to our own. Smell the plants as you amble. Talk about what you feel; the wind blowing on your face, stones crunching under your boots. You’ll be amazed at how much goes unnoticed when rushing from A to B. Sharing these experiences with your family not only helps to create a connection but again encourages a focus on the moment.
Find a view: Aside from the sheer sense of achievement, climbing to a summit with a sweeping view of the horizon can put small worries into perspective. Add children to the equation and you have a wonderful opportunity to point out key landmarks and emphasise how big the planet really is. Sharing an opportunity to look at the world from a different vista can spark wonderful conversations…or you can simply sit back in awe together.
There are so many benefits of heading outside with your family: head space, time to talk, time to listen, an opportunity to share experiences…and best of all…the kids will sleep well! Just make sure you don’t set expectations too high. Take it slow. Enjoy the small things. Relish the moment.