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Using Nature to Deal with Stress + May 2020 Goals

Learn how using nature to deal with stress can transform your life. You might also appreciate these calming activities. They were compiled for use with children but certainly apply to adults as well.

Nature is an amazing tool to use when dealing with stressful situations. Learn how to make the most of nature as a tool for stress relief. #stressaids #natureheals #lifeskills #natureisamazing #mamasmiles

Here in Silicon Valley we spent half of March plus all of April under a Shelter in Place Order. We know now that that order will extend at least until the end of May.

Sheltering in place is honestly pretty easy on the scale of trials that we could be dealing with, but it can still be stressful. All change is stressful. Add in the worry of medical problems and it can seem all-consuming.

How to Use Nature to Deal with Stress

One thing we are still allowed to do here is go outside, and I’ve never found nature more soothing. If you live somewhere too populated to go outside, see if you can find a house plant to look after.

Don’t have a plant? Make time to enjoy amazing nature videos, like this collection timelapse videos of blooming flowers:

Why Is Nature So Soothing?

Nature soothes for so many reasons. Being in nature encourages us to slow down. Nature’s intricacy encourages us to pay attention to details, while sweeping landscapes teach us to step back and look at the big picture, too.

I find the details of even the tiniest of flowers reassuring. If there is space for complexity in a tiny blossom that blooms for a single day, surely there is room for me on this earth as well.

How did My April Goals Go?

I knew I was dealing with uncertain times when I set my April goals, so I kept them simple.

I think I became a better online teacher, but it’s definitely still not smooth sailing. I have five and a half weeks left to do my best.

Spring break was lovely, if all too short.

I sewed a few more face masks, but nothing for fun. I did write up a face mask tutorial, because even though there are SO many on the internet, I hadn’t found any that made face mask pleats the way I do.

I continued to work on decluttering, and while I do see progress it’s been slow going because I’m so busy right now. I’ll keep at it in May.

My family set up daily Zoom check ins. I don’t make it in there to say hi every day, but it’s really nice to know it’s there. And I always enjoy it when I do make it to the chat!

Walks are still allowed where I live, and my two middle children started to join me most days. They find getting out in nature as destressing as I do.

I got my container garden planted, although technically the tomatoes didn’t go in until Saturday, which was May 1st.

I edited a few photos, but didn’t make any real headway.

Setting Goals for May 2020

I’ve learned that combining online school teaching with teaching my own kids at home makes for very little free time. We have a little over month of that status quo left, so I’m keeping this simple:

  • Continue to get out in nature as much as possible to deal with stress. I am incredibly fortunate to live somewhere where this is allowed and where we have lots of amazingly lovely weather to enjoy nature in. Focus: mindfulness and gratitude
  • Continue decluttering, although this week there’s less of a focus of getting rid of things and more a focus on organizing what we want to keep. Focus: mindful living
  • Sew. This can be masks if needed, but I also want to work on at least one non mask project, even if it doesn’t get finished. Repetitive actions like sewing are also very soothing! Focus: education
  • Continue to check in with friends and family. Focus: gratitude and mindful living
  • Edit photos. Because Mike has been waiting for me to finish editing some old family photos from 2018 (!) and it’s probably time to deliver. Focus: gratitude and mindful living.

How do you use nature to destress? What are your goals for May 2020?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

6 thoughts on “Using Nature to Deal with Stress + May 2020 Goals”

  1. You are fortunate to live in a beautiful state like California! I hope to visit one day and see the mountains and beaches and tropical plants!

  2. Yes, yes we love getting outside! We have enjoyed more bike rides in the last month. I didn’t realize how long it had been since we did that. My decluttering is going slow to but progress is progress, right?

  3. Sounds like you’ve found a nice rhythm during all of this. We love getting out into nature when we can. It’s something our entire family enjoys together. I’m working on trying to find my new normal in May. I want to get into a routine again instead of running in circles going nowhere.

  4. One of the most comforting things to me during this time was watching spring come again. That was such a good reminder to me that “this, too, will pass.” Thank you for sharing such great tips!

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