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3 Reasons Why You Need to Spend More Time Outdoors with Your Teen

Looking for ways to spend more time with the young adults in your life? Go outside! Take advantage of the spring weather and get some sunshine while connecting with your teen.

  1. Physical Health Benefits
    Going outdoors is good for your health. Research indicates time spent in nature reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It also increases exposure to vitamin D, which is key for the immune system and the absorption of minerals. In addition, spending time outside helps regulate your sleep/wake cycles resulting in more restful sleep.
    As adolescents grow and develop, they spend less time outdoors during the school day, and are often sitting inside doing homework late into the night. Adults spend even less time outdoors between work, home, and other obligations. Research suggests implementing a regular evening walk can be beneficial in several ways. It aids in digestion and boosts metabolism, reduces cortisol levels, and improves sleep. Additionally, it gives the adult and adolescent a chance to reconnect every day in a relaxed capacity, which can promote trust and bonding in the relationship.
  2. Mental and Emotional Benefits
    Experiencing the great outdoors has a plethora of mental and emotional benefits. Studies show that our minds relax in a natural setting, which releases feelings of pleasure and improves focus and concentration. Time outside can also boost creativity and problem-solving skills. Research indicates it can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves mood, and aids in sympathetic nervous system regulation.
    Spending time outdoors is self-care. It’s affordable, flexible, and scale-able. If you have access to safe green spaces or mountains nearby, it’s a perfect opportunity to explore! But if outside isn’t safe, sitting on a balcony, rooftop, porch, or even in front of a window can provide benefits too. Adults can use time outdoors as an example of healthy coping and regulation for the adolescents in their life. Adolescents mirror the behavior of those closest to them. Modeling pro-social behavior like exploring the outdoors or nature means the teen is more likely to incorporate that action into their self-regulation toolbox.
  3. Impact of Quality Time with a Caring Adult
    A 2023 study from Pew Research Center indicates nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults rate quality time with family as one of the most important things in their life. Spending regular quality time with an adolescent is a great way to provide positive attention and a safe space for questions and conversation. While adolescents may be pulling away from their guardians developmentally, it is critical that those caring adults continue to invest in maintaining an open and trusting relationship with the young person. That relationship will boost the teen’s self-esteem and sense of social and emotional safety. When it comes to spending time with young adults, prioritize quality over quantity. When you are together, put the phones and distractions away, commit to being in the present moment, and strive to listen to understand the teen. Check out our article on conversation starters with teens for inspiration the next time you head outside!

Want to learn more about ways to connect with young people and maintain your wellbeing? Check out our accredited life coach training programs for more information.

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