Feel like yourself again, outside
Some busy days, fifteen minutes outside and away from distractions seems like such an Olympic feat, whether family members want to go in different directions or you are so busy taking care of other people that you forget to take care of yourself.
I recently had an experience that made me realize how disconnected I have been from what makes me feel “whole,” and how time outside is the fuel that gives me relaxed space so I can continue on to my to do list while also being true to myself.
One Friday evening, we had a brief break from several days of rain, and I went outside and started pulling weeds and clipping faded blooms from my perennials (pruning) so they would bloom again. It wasn’t scheduled; the weeds weren’t out of control and it didn’t have to be done; my day was done and no one else would be calling. I was drawn outside.
Several minutes into my therapeutic garden maintenance, my seven year old joined me and asked if he could help. “Can you prune for me?” I asked? He excitedly replied that he loves pruning.
Working side by side in silence for a few minutes, my son started humming a tune. Then occasional rain drops fell, which felt so refreshing. We continued to work and the rain eventually became a consistent, light shower that showed no sign of stopping.
“Let’s keep going, Mom. I don’t want to go inside.”
We both started humming, and kept pruning, and eventually found ourselves smiling at the sky and catching raindrops like snowflakes. Several buckets of clippings later, we were pleased with our work and fun, and were ready to go in and dry off.
By stepping outside, we made time for ourselves and created a special memory together that we could not have planned.
Moments later, I received a call from my friend Starla J. King - our Friday tradition. “I feel like myself again,” I told her. I had been so busy the week before that while I effortlessly went from one task to the next, I forgot to take care of me.
And that 15 Minutes Outside not only took care of me, the experience was wrapped in a bow for my son too.
If I don’t make space for myself outside, I run until I run on empty and crash with exhaustion, and it takes me several days to recover.
Let’s all remember to take our 15 Minutes Outside, not only for the special people in our lives, but also just as importantly, for us.
About Rebecca P. Cohen
Rebecca P. Cohen is a finalist for the 2012 Outdoor Inspiration Awards and the go-to spokesperson for gardening and outdoor activities any time of the year. Rebecca is author of the book, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks) and inventor of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. Rebecca’s work has been featured in Better Home and Gardens, Parenting, Redbook, Working Mother, Family Circle, Backyard Solutions, and has appeared on live morning news shows around the country. Rebecca has been a proud ambassador of the Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project and featured as a spokesmom for the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement on PBS Wild Animal Baby. She has inspired thousands with her public appearances and community and school events, and motivates still more to follow their dreams and passions as the host of Wish It, Dream It, Do It! radio. For more information visit RebeccaPlants.com.
Tags: 15 minutes outside, Get Out of the House, great american backyard campout, OIA, OIA awards, Outdoor Inspiration A, outdoor inspiration awards, rebecca cohen, Rebecca P. Cohen, Rebecca Plants, summer ideas, Summer ideas with kids