June 24, 2024

Finding Time for Yourself! Written by Suzi Smart

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Finding Time for Yourself! Written by Suzi Smart

Have you ever found yourself longing for just 15 minutes to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee or an hour to be able to have an uninterrupted phone conversation with an old friend? Would you like to devote evening to a neglected hobby or spend the weekend away with your husband? It’s time to find the time.

Every mom I know is busy. Whether it’s fifteen minutes or an entire weekend, finding time for yourself gives you time to recharge.

Find 15 minutes - Run fewer errands. Yes, the milk at the grocery store is slightly cheaper than at the corner store you pass on your way home but if that’s all you need, save yourself the time. Have a hot cup of coffee in the time you saved.

Find an hour - Go for a workout. Many fitness centres offer childcare for a great rate. After a great workout (alone and undisturbed), you’ll be ready to tackle the next chore on the list. Or once a week, instead of tuning out in front of the television for an hour after you put your child(ren) in bed, devote that time to something you love to do.

Find an evening - Let a trusted friend or family member take care of the children for one evening. If they end up having cereal for dinner, go with it. One night isn’t going to hurt. Go to a movie, an exhibit or join a club.

Find a day (or part of a day) - Every other week or once in a while, trade the time with another mother. I’m sure there’s someone in your circle who would jump at the chance to have a day to themselves even if it means having an extra child the alternate week. Just imagine what you could do (or not do) with the time.

Find a weekend - It’s amazing what the power of asking will bring you. Ask a trusted friend or relative to care for your child(ren) for the weekend and escape with your husband. Ask your husband and escape for a girls weekend or a workshop that you’d like to attend.

While on the surface, taking time for yourself may seem selfish, in the end you’ll have more energy to devote to those you love. Finding the balance that works for you and your family is the key.

This article is written by Suzi Smart. Suzi is a stay-at-home mom raising a spirited three-year old boy, a wife, an outdoor enthusiast, graphic designer, writer and photographer. She writes The Big Picture – Inspiring families to find happiness outdoors and can be reached at TheBigPictureCalgary@gmail.com or @BigPictureYYC on Twitter.

Family Hiking Tips! Written by Suzi Smart

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Family Hiking Tips! Written by Suzi Smart

Hiking as a family is a great way to enjoy an active lifestyle, explore the natural environment and reconnect with each other. Young or old, winter or summer, hiking can be enjoyed around the world. Preparing for success on the trail helps ensure that everyone enjoys themselves to the fullest.

Here are Five Tips for Hiking with Kids:

Pick suitable trails. Make sure the distance, terrain and elevation gain is achievable for your little hiker – it’s better to do a slightly easier hike than one that makes the experience unhappy. Choose trails that are interesting – while adults can often be lured down the trail by the destination, for children it’s all about the journey. Choose trails with changing scenery and lots of things to see and do.

Slow the pace. Let the youngest hiker set the pace, family hiking is about enjoying time together as a family not about getting a workout. Make sure there’s time built in for exploring along the trail, climbing the boulders and tossing stones into the stream. Bring a field guide and learn about the animals and plants along the way.

Go with friends. Whether you go with one other family or an entire group, your child will enjoy running along the trail with a friend or two. In addition, with the relaxed pace, it’s a great time to chat and connect with friends or make new ones.

Pick your time. Pick a high energy time for your child, making sure that there’s enough time to complete the hike before any usual nap or quiet time. Some trails may require a little more consideration – some are brutal in the midday, summer sun while a waterfall on another may catch the morning sun.

Pack snacks and water. Pack some favourite snacks or a picnic and stop for a break along the way. It’s particularly important to make sure that everyone stays hydrated along the trail – ensure that you pack enough water for everyone.

In the end, the goal is to have fun, enjoy the experience and create a love of hiking that will last a lifetime. If something’s not working, reassess the situation and try a new approach. There’s nothing better than hearing “let’s go hiking up a mountain” in response to asking your child what they want to do. Happy trails.

Advisory: Always remember there are inherent risks when hiking, always use caution and assess trails and conditions carefully.

This article is written by Suzi Smart. Suzi is a stay-at-home mom raising a spirited three-year old boy, a wife, an outdoor enthusiast, graphic designer, writer and photographer. She writes The Big Picture – Inspiring families to find happiness outdoors and can be reached at TheBigPictureCalgary@gmail.com or @BigPictureYYC on Twitter.