A Monthly Wellness Column
By Amie Mignatti
As summer draws to a close, things begin to change, not only in nature, but also in our lives. School starts once again, we step into new routines or revive established ones, the slowness of the long days and sunshine is exchanged for cooler air, shorter days and more focus. Sometimes this transition can be difficult, and other times it can be welcomed: the way we feel depends on how we perceive our situation. As much as I love the summer, I equally love autumn; it has a sense of movement before the deeper calm of winter, and it is a signal to slow down and turn within. Everything has its time and space and it’s important that we give this to ourselves and to our children.
As I get older, I’m learning that slowing down, planning less, observing more, and finding the rhythm of each season and each day makes me less stressed out and more present in my life. As the school year begins, we start to plan all of the things that our children will do, from art classes to sports classes to music classes and playdates. This structure makes it easier for us to manage, on the one hand, but too much of this can be detrimental to our children.
As much as we feel our children need all of these extracurricular activities, what they need more than anything is freedom, fresh air and the ability to use their imagination. Having less of a structure and more time outdoors can be so valuable to their learning, growth and development. They have a natural sense of curiosity that should be celebrated and explored by offering them hours in the forest rather than playgrounds, time to climb trees, watch snails, build forts, look for animal tracks and get in touch with the environment around them.
We as adults can also benefit greatly from being with our children in this time, not on our phones or planning our busy lives, but taking the time to actually stop and be. There is so much around us that we can learn from when we switch off our connection to the rest of the world and switch on our connection to our children, ourselves and the natural world. We have an immense capacity to step more into who we really are; who we are without a job that defines us, who we are separate from our partners and friends, and again find what makes us so special, so beautiful and so lovely. I so often find that we lose ourselves in all of our responsibilities and we are missing our connection to our own hearts.
The woods are free, the time is there and I would recommend that you carve out the space in your life to unplug from the noise and busyness of your day – turn off your phone! – and plug into the energy and magic that the forest holds. We live in a city peppered with beautiful forests in every corner of the city, but we are often so busy that we can’t take the time to really enjoy it. How about a walk with your child(ren) through your neighborhood park or forest, without the distraction of the phone, just you, your child(ren) and nature?
You will be amazed at how much you experience, feel and see. Especially now: autumn is such a special time in nature. Spider webs, leaves, sun-ripened nuts and fruits, golden light, blue sky, animals changing their habits in anticipation of the coming cold: get out there and let the absolute wonder take your breath away!
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.