Nature Nurturers: Empowering Kids In The Outdoors

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A lot of people like to think that children have changed over the last couple of decades. With less of them out on the streets, in the fields, and in other outdoor areas, it can seem like they have let go of the natural side of life. This line of thought is so powerful, in fact, that a lot of parents will work very hard to try and turn it around. In reality, though, it isn’t that your kid is bored of the outside, they simply haven’t had the chance to experience it properly yet.

This is where you and your excellent parenting skills will come in handy, and it will be your job to get them out in the great outdoors. Achieving this goal can be done through a number of different methods. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of them, giving you the chance to tackle this part of your child’s life. Spending time with nature will always have a positive impact on a young person. So, it makes sense to work hard to give your children enough exposure to it.

The Student

The natural world is a fascinating one. From the tiny insects and plants you see each and every day, to the great and wonderful natural marvels which take your breath away, this part of life has an incredible amount to offer. For a child, it’s very easy to be inspired by nature, and this makes it into an incredible learning tool. This sort of approach is great when you see potential for your child to be a biologist or scientific communicator.

Starting this journey, books and other resources will be enough to satisfy your child’s appetite for knowledge. With the right options in hand, you will be able to leave your child to improve their reading skills while also learning about something useful. Of course, though, as time goes on, their need to learn will become too great to be handled by simple tools, and you will need to give them some practical experience of nature.

There are loads of ways that this sort of work can be done. To begin, simple activities like exploring the woods or going to the beach can be very good for your child, as they will give them the chance to learn by themselves. Of course, though, you could also look for SeaQuest aquariums near you to give your children an interactive experience with some animals. Getting the chance to handle some exotic creatures will be very exciting for any child.

The Conservationist

Of course, some natural goals are a little bit different, and won’t involve so much learning. Instead, passion will be the key, and is very important when it comes to a field like conservation. Developing your child into an environmentally conscious individual doesn’t take too much work throughout their life, and most parents already have everything they need to get started.

To begin with this, exposure to the outside world is one of the best ways to build some compassion for it. If your children get to experience the wonders of the great outdoors, they will naturally want to protect it. Of course, though, children are very basic creatures, and they won’t always retain interest in something unless they are given something to champion.

Animals are by far the best way to do this, and it’s very likely that you already have some good candidates nearby. For example, bats are very common when you ignore the individual species which make up their population. There are loads of endangered bats, though, and a lot of them aren’t getting much help. A child will find it much easier to love these creatures for what they are than an adult can, making them into the perfect little conservationists.

This sort of field opens up loads of options for careers and jobs when your child gets older. Large companies which have an impact on the environment will almost always employee people with a background in conservation to make sure that they’re doing things efficiently. Along with this, though, a lot of people are able to make their living through saving animals, and this is a very honorable goal.

The Artist

Finally, as the last way to inspire your children to enjoy the outdoors, it’s time to think about the creativity the outdoors can inspire. Artists have used this part of life to give them creative ideas for thousands of years. Life brings artwork off of the paper, making it much more immersive and pleasing to view than other works.

When trying to do something like this, a lot of parents will fall into the trap of thinking of art as merely painting or drawing. In reality, though, art is merely an expression of who you are, and this means that it can come in loads of different forms. Some people will like to paint when they are doing this. But, other people will prefer the idea of making sculptures from rock and clay. Finding your child’s area of artistic passion will take a lot of work. Once you get there, though, it will be well worth it.

The road to outdoor art has to start with taking your child out into the world. Visit after visit to the woods or other natural area you have close by your kid will be inspired more and more, giving them the desire to create out of what they see. When this first starts, you should give your children as much freedom as possible, providing them with the tools to experiment. It won’t take long until passions start to show through, and this will give you a great place to launch from.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working to inspire your children. The outside world is a great place to help your child learn, with their time there impacting almost every aspect of their life. Not a lot of parents put this sort of effort in, nowadays, and this is why it seems like children are moving on from the outdoors.

White Noise Machines – Why Does Everyone Recommend Them?

I received a comment awhile back on a post I wrote asking why every sleep specialist recommends white noise machines (and asking if I worked for a white noise machine company!).  While it may seem that many people are recommending them, I do want to say they are not by any means a magic wand.  I never say to people, “Oh, buy a white noise machine and you or your children will be sleeping all through the night!”.  In fact using only one of my tips or recommendations probably will not cause a dramatic change in your sleep.  Using several together however will (including a white noise machine)!

 

So why all the fuss about white noise machines?  What can they really do to help us sleep better?

Block Out Noises

One of the main advantages to using a white noise machine is their ability to block out noises when you or your children are sleeping.  Tired of tiptoeing around the house in the day when your baby is sleeping?  Tired of having to keep everyone quiet at 7:30 when your child is sleeping?  A white noise machine can help!  It can also help if you have more than one child.  For me, it helps keep out the noise of our roosters crowing, or the dogs walking around on the hardwood floor.

Create a More Consistent Environment

Another advantage to a white noise machine is that it provides the same environment (at least noise wise) all night long.  So when you or your child fall asleep, you hear the noise, and when you have a partial awakening during the night, you hear the same noise.

Replace the TV

One of the biggest challenges I hear from adult clients is that they cannot fall asleep without the television on.  I used to have this problem as well.  I would turn it down so I could barely hear it, but I could not fall asleep without it on.  This is exactly what white noise can help with.  White noise can give your brain something to focus on other than the thoughts that may be going through your head while you are trying to fall asleep.  And when you have a partial awakening during the night, the white noise can keep your brain from starting to wander.

What About White Noise Apps?

While white noise apps can work, but it is better to not have electronics in your room while you are sleeping at night.  The lights from them can stop your body from producing melatonin, a calming hormone, and the electromagnetic waves are not great for you to sleep with.

My Favorite White Noise Machines

Here are two of my favorite white noise machines*, but there are tons more and any will work for you.

If you would like to see more about the Marpac Dohm, check out my review here.

 

*Please note that these are affiliate links and so, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a small portion of your purchase price.

How To Cope When Sick And Living Alone

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Being sick can be a struggle when living solo. With no-one to do the household chores and look after you, you have to do it yourself – but what if you’re too sick to get out of bed, let alone do physical chores? Here are a few strategies to consider to help you get through your sickness.

Keep some medical supplies in your bedroom

It’s worth having an emergency medical kit within reach of your bed – you could possibly store this in your bedside cabinet. This could contain supplied such as pain killers and tissues. You could even consider packing some snacks to save you having to go downstairs to the kitchen.

Consider a house call doctor

Driving to your local GP surgery or hospital may not be possible when ill. Fortunately, there are home-call services that could allow a doctor to come to you. You should search 24 urgent care near me to see what services exist in your area. Once you’ve had the problem diagnosed, a doctor may be able to help you seek treatment by telling you how to get medication online as well as coping strategies at home.

Make use of the web

You can do a lot nowadays online from your phone. If you need to buy food or medical supplies, you may be able to shop for them online and order them to your home. This will save you having to trek to your local store. You can also use the web for medical advice if you need it – however this shouldn’t substitute seeing a doctor if you are ill and don’t know the cause.

Push yourself to do chores, but know your limits

Being active may be good for your body and mind in some cases, so don’t try to be entirely bed-ridden unless you truly are so sick that you cannot move. There may be certain tasks that you want to avoid such as cleaning out the trash (if you’re already feeling sick, smells of the garbage could further trigger you off). Don’t try to do tasks that are too physically or mentally demanding as you could be putting extra strain on yourself and delaying your recovery.

Get help from friends and family

If your sickness last more than a day, you’ll need to get some outside help from others. Whether it’s to help cook meals or take out the garbage, your friends and family will be able to make life easier. You may even benefit from staying round someone else’s house. If you don’t have any local friends or family to turn to, there may be local charities or even religious centers that can provide voluntary help. Don’t be too proud to ask for assistance – allowing others to help with speed up the recuperation process.

What Doctors and Psychologists Can Tell Us About Sleep!

While there’s still a lot that we don’t understand about sleep, there’s plenty that we do and we’re uncovering more and more about this mysterious state. And this knowledge can help us to get better sleep and work out how we can improve our health. Here’s what doctors and psychologists can tell us about sleep.

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Lack of Sleep Short and Long Term

We all know the unpleasantness of struggling through a day where we’ve not slept well. You’re tired, moody, emotional, you even feel hungrier because of the way your hunger hormones are affected. In the long term it can cause obesity which comes with it’s own unique problems, high blood pressure, increased risk of obesity and diabetes to name a few. This can lead to strokes and heart attacks and other severe health issues. A lack of sleep is even linked to accidental death due to exhaustion and lack of concentration. It could be due to crashing a car, getting injured by machines, power tools or other dangerous equipment. You put both your health and your safety at risk when you don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep Stages

It’s not as simple as drifting off to sleep and then waking up in the morning. You actually cycle through a number of different sleep stages during the night which all have different cognitive and body functions. The majority of sleep we get is classed as ‘light sleep’, but this doesn’t mean weak sleep. There are lots of different things this stage is responsible for. The first thing is processing and ordering memories, it will decide which go into longer term storage and which will be forgotten, as humans when we’re coming up against all kinds of new situations on a daily basis this is important. It also deals with emotion, allowing emotions to regulate. Light sleep also regulates and restores the metabolism too.The next stage is deep sleep, which is mainly responsible for repairing the body. During this stage you don’t dream, your heart rate drops right down and you secrete growth hormone while rebuilding your body’s cells, This sleep stage helps to restore and strengthen the immune system. Your body likes to get this stage of sleep out of the way early in the night, with most deep sleep occurring in the earlier parts of the evening. The final sleep stage is something we’ve all heard of, REM sleep. This is characterized by rapid darting eyes under the eyelids- you dream vividly in this stage and your heart rate increases. Your body goes into a state of paralysis here which stops you ‘acting out’ your dreams. REM sleep is all about the mind and cognitive functions and helps to stabilize mood and emotion amongst other things. This sleep stage usually occurs towards the end of the night, in the last hour or two before you wake up. This is why it’s important to be sleeping the full seven or eight hours that your body needs. Otherwise you risk cutting off this part of your sleep. It’s why most nightmares occur closer to the morning, as your brain is producing vivid story- like dreams which you will remember if you wake up at the right time. If you invest in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, it can accurately measure your sleep stages based on your heart rate. So you can see if you’re getting enough.

Dealing With Sleeplessness and Insomnia

Even the best sleepers in the world can sometimes suffer bouts of insomnia or sleeplessness. Some of the main culprits are caffeine, stress, and uncomfortable bed and the wrong lighting or temperature in the room. As humans we are very sensitive to these kinds of things and they can massively affect our ability to fall and stay asleep. If you’re suffering with this, there are a few things you can try. The first would be to totally eliminate caffeine from your diet. This means coffee, energy drinks and caffeine pills but even things like cola, tea and chocolate contain it. Caffeine lasts for a surprising amount of time in the body, so even if you consume it in the morning it could still be having a stimulant effect that night when you’re trying to sleep. Another thing to consider would be light sources in the room. We’re all glued to our devices these days, but the light emitted from computers, laptops, tablets, tvs and phones are all strong ‘wake up’ signals to the brain. They can prevent the sleep hormones from working as they should and massively disrupt the way your brain and body wind down. Get rid of any lights, including LEDs and blinking lights on computers and electronics an hour before bed. This might be difficult to do at first if you’ve been used to scrolling through your phone at night but can make a massive difference

Avoid Alcohol

If you’ve been struggling sleeping for a while, it can be tempting to drink some alcohol as a way to shut down. However while alcohol can make you sleepy, the quality of sleep you will get under the influence is not good. While you might drift off more easily, your sympathetic nervous system stays active and your heart rate stays elevated, meaning you will wake up as soon as the sleep inducing effects of the alcohol wear off. Many insomniacs have actually gotten themselves into a position where they become addicted to alcohol as they’re so desperate to drift off at night. If this is a situation you’ve found yourself in, you could consider online alcohol addiction help or speak to your GP. They will be able to help with the addiction as well as prescribe proper medication or counseling to help with the sleeplessness.

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Sleep is so important for both mental and physical health. Without the right amount and type of sleep your whole life will be negatively impacted, so it’s something to take seriously. If you’re experiencing problems sleeping, speak to a doctor.  If the doctor believes the issues are not medical, a sleep consultant can help.

SleepWell’s Seven Best Sleep Tips Infographic