A Winter Dose of Inspiration

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Here in Portland, we’re in the thick of the wet and gray. Winter Solstice promises that the days are getting longer, but those longer days will still be wearing clouds as a blanket for months to come. Even so, I’m inspired by the power of nature and cloud-filtered sunlight for our well-being. To that end, I fill my mind with podcasts and quotes on sticky-notes as I lean into the winter season, instead of huddling up in my house like a grumpy bear.

Hands holding coffee on lap outside

Finding Inspiration 

One of my favorite places to find sticky-note-worthy facts and resources to spur me into the drizzle is 1,000 Hours Outside. It’s a podcast-turned-movement that encourages families to get out into nature for, you guessed it, 1,000 hours each year. Have we hit 1,000 hours in a year yet? No. That goal honestly isn’t attainable at this point in our family. But I love trying! If you’ve never heard of this movement, let me tell you where to find them and a few things they’ve shared that have inspired me of late.

  • 1,000 Hours Outside Podcast – The host, Ginny Yurich, interviews authors, doctors, psychologists, adventurers and more, offering fun conversation and tons of practical tips for getting outside. She genuinely makes you want to do it, even if you’re not at all outdoorsy! 
  • 1,000 Hours Outside App – This free app allows you to track your time outside, take photos, and journal about your adventures as a family. Amazing!
  • Start those outside hours with a few minutes each morning. Exposure to morning sunlight greatly impacts mood, energy, and night time sleep. 
  • An amazing way to get your outside hours in is by “stacking.” Stacking is a term coined by Katy Bowman that describes doing more than one meaningful thing at a time. An example would be walking for cardio, while carrying a rucking pack for bone density, while talking with a friend.
  • Getting outdoors on uneven terrain to help you and your kids with proprioception (knowing where your body is positioned and moving), balance, and even problem-solving, eye-tracking, and confidence. 

Start With The Ordinary

Girl smiling holding snow in front of her faceSo now that the ball has dropped and your pants are tighter from holiday cheer (what, just me?), don’t fall into the trap of resolving to be “a whole new you.” Just pop in an earbud, stick a note to the bathroom mirror, and drink your coffee in a parka on the back patio. And as your spirit lifts with these ordinary things, pick the next thing that inspires you toward self-care, and a greater connection with those you love and the world around you. 

 

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Cheryl is a nearly 20 year Oregonian who grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. She learned to turn down the sarcasm dial, hike in the rain, and keep an IV drip of coffee at all times, making the PNW deeply home. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Pastoral Counseling and, in her pre-kid years, worked in substance abuse prevention, special needs tutoring, and as administrative support for the psychiatric care of at risk children. She and her husband, BJ, are two-time adoptive parents to Nora (8) and Evan (5). Together, they love discovering nature, mountains of library books, and endless hours of legos, art, and YouTube. A potent cocktail of pandemic school closure and a growing understanding of neurodivergent needs led Cheryl to educate their kids at home. She spends much of her time geeking out over resources for Child-Led Learning (Unschool, Self-Directed, Natural Learning -whatever your flavor!). Through NEST she has obtained certification in supporting individuals with the Pathological Demand Avoidance profile of the Autism Spectrum. She enjoys encouraging families in their journey as they seek to understand and love their children well. You can find her at WhatHelps.me, where she educates and supports in areas of OCD, PDA, Unschooling, and Open Adoption.

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