“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or not, and however covered by cares and duties”......John Muir
Spending time in the great outdoors can be one of life’s greatest pleasures as well as a healing tonic for whatever ails us!
While raising two active sons, our family loved camping vacations. Not only did it fit our budget, but camping in the desert, mountains or coast was definitely our preferred way to explore new territory. It guaranteed quality time together and allowed us to forget about work and school.
Despite the occasional hard work of camping with children, it’s worth it to witness your child discover the wonders of nature. To this day, our boys continue to thrive in the great outdoors!
When we became empty nesters our camper trips morphed into “ healing retreats” from our hectic, self-employed businesses. After being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue – (feeling wired but tired; unable to get restful sleep; feeling anxious and dependent on caffeine) I knew I needed to slow things down to regain my energy and find my natural rhythm.
My healing began on a winter camping trip to Death Valley. We spent our days exploring; reading, making art and sleeping like babies under the cool night skies. Our desert campfire ignited my internal flame to create mandalas and symbols out of rocks. I prepared healing whole food meals each day and by the end of the week I was beginning to feel like Katie again.
5 Healing Benefits of Camping
Besides being a unique way to reconnect with nature, research has found several proven health benefits to camping and outdoor activity:
1. Sleep and Sunlight: Camping can improve sleep patterns in circadian rhythm and reset your body clock. Spending as much time as possible surrounded by natural light versus artificial light, our melatonin levels (the hormone that signals sleep) rise and falling asleep is easier. Be sure to wear a sun shirt and hat and you’ll start sleeping more soundly.
2. Grounding / Earthing: The Earth is actually a giant battery filled with positive and negative electrons. Our skin is a natural conductor of electricity and when exposed to sunlight, it transfers negative electrons from earth into our bodies. Research has proven that these electrons help decrease inflammation, reduce pain, promote healthy sleep and reduce heart disease. Negative ions are referred to as “nature’s antidepressants” and have a relaxing and healing effect. Get “earthed” by simply walking outside barefoot or lying on the ground.
3. Ahhhh….Fresh Air: Inhale / Exhale! Energize! Fresh air is another good source of beneficial negative ions found in forests, beaches, waterfalls, streams, and sunlight. Take a break from indoor air, filled with invisible chemicals and plastics often trapped in by airtight insulation, windows and doors.
4. NO Electronic Screen Time: One of the best things about camping is natural boredom. Without computers, TVs, video games, and cell phones we naturally tend to want to explore our surroundings and our senses become heightened. Quieting the mind allows us to hear, smell, touch and see things we would never experience on Facebook or Netflix. The stimulus from “Blue light” emitted from technology results in poor sleep.
5. Vitamin D: Spending time in sunlight helps our body produce natural vitamin D. This vital pre-hormone is responsible for many aspects of health throughout the body. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various types of cancer and obesity, as well as mental disorders and other health problems.
6. Eat Natural Whole Foods! Even though we’re on vacation we try to continue to eat healthy. Sure we bend the rules a bit but we don’t use camping as an excuse to eat marshmallows and other junk foods. Consider cooking with whole foods instead of prepackaged, processed foods by grilling animal protein,
vegetables and fruits over the campfire.
Find more campfire recipes at my website: katiecarterwellness.com/campfire-recipes/
Who knows what a campfire dinner will ignite in your life?
The more exposure you have to nature’s beauty, the more profound the health benefits. Tis the season to get outside!!!!