Debbie Gross, LCSW, Ltd. - Individual, Marital & Family Therapy

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One Therapist's Reflections

Welcoming Spring

From April 4, 2010

With the sun finally emerging from behind the winter clouds, I was excited to see all the families outside riding bikes, walking their dogs, and just enjoying the beautiful weather this past weekend. Spring brings out the warmth and colors as everything comes to life. I want to share some thoughts about how to refocus yourselves and your children to the great outdoors.
For those of you reading this who live in warm climates, you don’t quite understand the nature of winter hibernation. Going weeks without seeing the sun, bundling ourselves to the point of unrecognizability, and avoiding stepping outside as often as possible is how many people living in the midwest or north spend the long winter months. When we look out our windows and see the first signs of spring, the tulip greens emerging, robins grabbing broken branches for their nests, buds forming on our trees and bushes, a smile emerges on our faces. Yes, we have a few nasty Mother Nature teasers, where a 70 degree day pops up, only to be followed by 35 degrees and snow flurries the next. But when days of consistent warmth and sun surround us, we know spring is here.
I want to encourage everyone join me in committing to enjoy this spring and summer by enjoying outdoor activities. The goal: turn off the electronics, turn up the activity level. Below I offer some suggestions to step outside and get moving. Our kids need to see us modeling a healthy lifestyle so they get off the couch, put down the game controller, computer, and cell phone, and enjoy the good old outdoors and spontaneous play! Please feel free to comment on this blog with your own ideas to share with each other.
  1. Arrange nature walks. Take friends, find groups, take your pet, or just meditate with yourself on a hike.
  2. Biking. I am always impressed when my daughter had a job as a bike camp counselor. She bikes for about four hours each day with seventh and eighth grade campers. What a wonderful way to enjoy the fresh air and get exercise! So, on your own, with a friend, or in a biking group, get riding!
  3. Gardening. Whether planting flowers to enrich our environment or vegetables and fruits to bring organic foods into your home, connect with the earth!
  4. Find a sport that you enjoy and participate. Tennis, golf, pickleball, softball, baseball are just a few ideas. Some encourage teamwork, others self-improvement. All incorporate movement, skill-building and sharing time with people.
  5. Picnic. Take the family to a park, preserve, or beach and enjoy the afternoon or evening together. Bring some games to play or take a hike together.
  6. Tour your city. Whether strolling leisurely through downtown Long Grove, exploring downtown Chicago, or driving to Lake Geneva or Milwaukee, our local area offers such variety and beauty all around us.

I am excited to embrace spring this year. Today I enjoyed a walk through my neighborhood, stopping to visit friends along the way. It felt great to reconnect not only with my physical self, but with nature, friends, and my husband. I hope to see you outside on one of my outdoor adventures!

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