B – Break from Daily Life

swing reasons to take your family outside break from daily life

Adapted from swint-set-667949_1920_ctvgs @ Pixabay.com

I’m a mom. As such, my normal daily schedule looks a bit like this:

daily schedule

I know many others have schedules that are far crazier than mine, but it’s clear that we have a lot to keep us occupied during the day. Activity-packed days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and suddenly we feel like our days are repeating themselves—Groundhog Day style. We don’t get enough sleep. We don’t eat as well as we should. We cut corners where we can to make everything fit into the schedule. By the time the weekend rolls around, we’re exhausted—and for good reason! We look forward to vacations to “catch-up,” but how many times have you found yourself saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation” when you return?

Let’s face it: We need a break. Our families need a break.

But how do we find time for a break—a really refreshing break?

What most of us forget is that we have a great way to take a break right in front of us: The great outdoors!

Having trouble sleeping?

Current Biology did a study (reported by Fox News) that camping can result in a break from the unnatural circadian rhythms caused by modern life. According to Kenneth Wright, who led the study, “By increasing our exposure to sunlight and reducing our exposure to electrical lighting at night, we can turn our internal clock and sleep times back and likely make it easier to awaken and be alert in the morning.” It took less than a week of camping for study participants to feel less groggy in the morning. Even if a camping trip isn’t in your future, spending more time outside during the day and reducing exposure to artificial light in the evenings can produce results. Starting your day with a walk outside can jumpstart your circadian rhythm.

Feeling stressed?

Just being outside can act as a stress break. In a Landscape and Urban Planning study reported in Prevention, scientists measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 25 healthy adults in Scotland and discovered that participants living where green space was in abundance had lower cortisol levels and fewer complaints of stress. If you think this means you have to move to the country, there’s good news. Environmental Science & Technology reported that people showed improved mood and self-esteem after only five minutes of light exercise outdoors.

Life’s routines and never-ending to-do list too much for you?

When things feel hectic at home, I find myself yearning for the routine break of a camping trip. Yes, we still have to set-up the campsite, make food, etc. However, doing these things away from home is a nice change of routine. When we’re camping, I’m not thinking about the laundry that needs to get washed, the bills that need to be paid, or the vet appointment I need to make for the dog. I talk with my family around the campfire, go for walks in the woods, and play games at the picnic table. For that brief time, I relax.

 

Next time things feel hectic and you notice you’re not sleeping well, stressed, or overwhelmed with life, take my advice and get outside. No, time spent outside won’t get those bills paid, but my guess is that you’ll return to those tasks with more focus and a renewed spirit.

How do you take a break from daily life?

Read more of my Blogging From A-Z Challenge posts: 26 Reasons to Take Your Family Outside

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58 thoughts on “B – Break from Daily Life

    • I understand the reality that camping isn’t for everyone. It’s interesting how many variations there are on that term these days–from backpacking to luxury RV resorts with more amenities than country clubs! For me, the key is just getting that change in the routine. I suppose if i worked outside, I may feel differently, but even a quick walk around the yard to see the spring plants changes my perspective. I appreciate your visit!

      Liked by 1 person

    • My family is on spring break this week, and although we don’t have any major plans, we all desperately need a routine break. Now, I’m just hoping the weather cooperates. It’s snowing at the moment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh No! We’re enjoying the tail-end of a sunny week with temperatures in the high 60’s {rain is soon to return}. Wishing you a fun-filled day in the snow – perhaps, game day? We also like to pull out the books of where we want to hike and explore to warm our thoughts of sunny days to come! Stay warm!

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      • We’ve spent the morning talking about our summer camping plans… Not quite the same as getting out there, but it’s just miserable outside at the moment–a snowy, sleeting mess! I keep thinking spring will arrive one of these days–my poor flowers hope so!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I bet! My boys camped out in their fort {treehouse} last night after a fun day of campfire cooking, whittling, and games. Sending warm thoughts 🙂

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      • Yay! I’m writing a post about the weekend of camping and campfires – it was a welcome spring opener for us! Sending warm thoughts 🙂

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      • {for what it’s worth, my younger son and I were looking at a map of the US this morning and remembering all the fun places we’d visited in different states — thinking about where we’d like to go next!!} Sounds like a great board game day to me!!

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      • I’m afraid our entire spring break is going to be a board game week. The weather is just miserable–33 and snowing today! This is crazy–even for Michigan! Our poor birds and plants are shivering!

        Liked by 1 person

      • May be time to pull out the supplies for feeding birds and tenting plants during the surprise cold — that limits the outdoor activity and focuses on the spring to come {back!} 😉 Enjoy recapturing the cozy winter — it’ll be behind you before you know it!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m drawn to wetlands and am very fortunate to have a pond inhabited by great blue herons, egrets, many other birds, 4 species of frogs/toads, and wonderful plants like cattails within easy walking distance from my house. True, when I stand on the banks of the pond I can hear obnoxious road noise behind me. But it’s a divine getaway all the same.

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    • Sounds lovely! I hope you get the chance to visit often. I live just up the hill from a lake, yet I don’t get there often enough. It’s ridiculous because I know how much just hearing that water refreshes me, but I always feel like I’m too busy. “Busy” is such a bad excuse!

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      • You are right on: busy is a pathetic, wilted-piece-of-lettuce excuse. But it’s so easy to use. I say it w/out thinking.

        I happened to come across these words from Thoreau earlier this evening:

        “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.” I liked that as a mantra: simplicity of life, elevation of purpose.

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  2. We all need to break the routine at times. I love to be outside, we love it! I should say family consists of me the hubby and the dog at the moment, lol… Hopefully that will change.

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  3. Dog walks… Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it is now known (incredibly relaxing and give you two more hours of active brain-power a day for 20 mins meditation) and singing, I joined a local choir, and it’s great fun!

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    • I don’t think a choir would have me, Liz, but a creative outlet is definitely so useful. I am going to have to do some reading again on meditation. I have been thinking a lot about mindfulness, but I haven’t been very good at just sitting still to meditate. Thanks for that thought!

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  4. This is my idea of healthy living! No kids left around but a dog who gets us outside. We live in Labrador where the snow is still about five feet high – so getting out requires snowshoes. We have lovely trails and a boil-up is the best fun ever. (just making a wee fire and having a small kettle to boil up tea). Thanks for posting these reminders – the combination of exercise and nature cannot be beat for enriching our lives.
    Jan Morrison – this crazy writing life

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    • WOW, Jan–Labrador? Five feet of snow in April?! Here in Michigan, we think people in our Upper Peninsula have long winters, but you make us look like wimps! I bet it’s absolutely beautiful up there, though. I’ve got a Canadian roadtrip in mind for one of these days, so perhaps I’ll make it that far! Thanks for the visit!

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    • Thanks for the visit, Duncan! I think I’m going to have to think of a way to incorporate dog walking into one of my posts during this challenge. It’s something I sort of forget it about but a great way to be active and outside. Thanks for that reminder!

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  5. I didn’t sleep well at all last night and this morning, surprise surprise, the sun was shining. “Haven’t seen you in a while,” I said as I opened the curtains. So off I went out and spent a few hours gardening. It was great! I’m sure I’ll sleep better tonight. Thanks for the great post and thank you for popping over to see me 🙂

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    • I’d love to get outside and dig in the dirt a bit, Nicola, but we keep getting snowed on here in Michigan. I’m ready for spring. Send some of that snow this way if you have any to spare! 🙂

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    • I don’t use my bike nearly enough. I live in an area with bike paths, yet I only grab the bike when the kids want to go for a ride. I think I need to make biking more a goal for this summer. There are really no downsides to that mode of transportation.

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  6. Yes getting outside certainly does it for me and if it’s near water – even better. My husband and I own a share in a canal boat and after just a few hours on board we both unwind completely. We also get into the swing of going to bed when it gets dark and up early as soon as the sun rises and that helps de-stress a lot too 🙂
    Pempi
    A Stormy’s Sidekick
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

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    • I entirely agree with the benefits of being near/on water. I live on a lake that feeds into Lake Michigan, and my family spends our summers on Lake Superior. I moved away from Michigan when I was younger, but I quickly realized that the Great Lakes run in my blood. I’m not happy unless I’m near the water.

      I love that idea of adjusting your internal clock to the sunset/rise. We definitely do that when we’re camping. I know I sleep better when we’re on a more natural clock, but that doesn’t work as well with work and school during the rest of the year. I wonder how much of our cultural sense of stress is caused by losing those natural rhythms.

      Thanks for the visit!

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  7. I’d love to get outside more but we are having a horrible mosquito problem. I have the worst sleeping habits and I’m sure blue light from electronics has something to do with it. Thankfully I have sleeping pills!

    I’m visiting from the A to Z Challenge.

    Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

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    • It’s awful to say, but I think I’d take the mosquitoes over the snow flying outside my window at the moment! Come about July, though, and I may have to change that sentence! 🙂

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    • Crashing in front of the TV or with a book is my go-to relaxation activity, too. I know, though, that I’m not doing my body any favors. I tell myself I’ll take a short walk and then I can do those other things–a nice compromise!

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  8. I love your theme so much. I read the study out loud to my boyfriend who wakes up groggy every day. He’s someone who needs fresh air. His motorcycle is out of the shop and ready for summer riding. Now, weather, please cooperate. I keep thinking about planning a camping trip with my boys this summer. They’re boy scouts, so they will be able to do most of the work. I just need to plan and make the food!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    • I always feel like the food’s the best part of our camping adventures. There’s something about cooking outside that makes things taste better–even boring hot dogs (I’m actually using that idea for my G post, I think.). Your boy scouts should definitely love getting to show off their outdoor skills!

      I hear you about the weather–33 and snowing at the moment here. This weather is killing me! It’s so hard to get motivated when it’s cold, I find.

      I loved reading those articles about the benefits of getting outside. I know I’m very light sensitive, so I have much more energy in summer with sunshine and longer days. Hopefully the sun returns one of these days soon!

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    • I couldn’t agree more, Kimberley! I know a lot of people say they hate camping, but I get the impression they’re worried about dirt and bugs more than the moments you describe. There’s something about the change of scenery and routine that calls to me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree with how nice it is to have those long summer days. I’m trying to work on myself to appreciate the other seasons more, too. This spring is an especially tough one since it’s still snowing here in April!

      Thanks for the visit!

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  9. Hi there!

    I’m stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge. Well, I juggle a demanding full time job running a martial arts school all day until usually 9 or so at night and then I go home to work on my writing until usually midnight. I destress with music or reading and go to the gym 4-5 times a week. No, I never get enough sleep but then I enjoy both of my careers so I guess I can’t complain…;~)

    I have two blogs in this challenge…my author blog at THE STORY CATCHER (www.donnalmartin.com) and my KICKS Kids Club blog (www.kickskidsclub.blogspot.com) . If you get a chance, check them out and good luck with the challenge!

    Donna L Martin

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    • I’m tired just reading your daily schedule, Donna! 🙂 I’ve always wished I could go on less sleep, but if I don’t get enough, no one wants to put up with me. I’ve learned to make sleep a priority or nothing else functions well. Thanks for the visit! I look forward to checking out your posts.

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  10. I can’t wait for it to warm up so we can go outside for a walk! I find it hard to take a break from my daily routine when it’s cold out. Cassie from Mommy, RN

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    • I’m the same way about the cold. I just want to hibernate until spring! For me, it’s more the light (or lack thereof) in winter than the cold that saps my energy. I don’t mind going out if the sun is shining, but we don’t see that much during Michigan winters!

      Liked by 1 person

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