Taking an outdoor adventure can have plenty of benefits to your personal health and wellbeing, but it can also strengthen your relationships with the people around you.
Whether you want to bond as a family, grow with your partner, or just want to communicate better with the people around you, the great outdoors can help provide a boost.
Quality Family Time
One of the things I’ve always been grateful for was the experiences I got to enjoy growing up going on family camping trips.
Going camping is an opportunity for adventure and relaxation. But it can also be daunting if you’ve never been before – particularly if you’re taking little ones. So if it’s your first time and you’re feeling a bit lost, I’ve written some tips for camping with your kids!
Camping for me was always a way for us to break out of our normal routine as a family and reconnect with nature and each other.
Nowadays, it feels even more important to take some time together as a family away from technology. Getting everyone to spend some time away from the screens is important – especially as parents are just as glued to their phones as kids!
Camping offers the perfect opportunity to put the devices down and connect face-to-face as a family.
Without the convenience of devices and modern life, everyone has to muddle through the challenges and accept things might get a little bit muddy or less comfortable than they are used to. There’s no Netflix or UberEats in the wilderness, after all.
You have to work together to have a good outdoor adventure camping trip.
Everyone has to pitch in to make camping work. But the thing about camping is that most of the time everyone wants to pitch in.
There has been plenty of research to support the idea that vacation time, in general, is important for family cohesion and togetherness.
But not all types of vacations have the same impact, and research has shown that trips that incorporate outdoor nature time and sports-based activities are more effective at encouraging social interaction between family members.
Camping also offers the opportunity to meet new people.
This is particularly beneficial to children, who get the chance to interact with kids from all over the country – and possibly even from further afield!
Growing up in Scotland, I went to campsites across the country and played with kids from all over Britain – and even some from Europe! It was a really valuable experience that introduced me to lots of people I would never have met in my day-to-day life growing up.
So camping is great for bonding as a family, but there are also benefits for childhood development in meeting new people in a new environment.
Connecting with Partners
Just as camping and outdoor activity can be good for family time, it can also be important for maintaining your relationship with a loved one.
Backpacking combines camping with hiking, meaning you have to carry your tent and all of your equipment with you to your site. This can be challenging for some people.
If you’re planning a backpacking trip with your partner, you’ll need to plan. It’s really important during this stage that you communicate to each other exactly what it is you want to achieve from your trip.
If you want to take a leisurely, short hike to an easily accessible area and carry plenty of amenities in your backpack and your partner is thinking of a real test of endurance with an ultralight backpack, it’s important to recognize you have different priorities.
That happens in life. And just as we have to do with everything else, it’s good to find a compromise. Maybe you could take a short hike to your campsite on the first day and then go for a longer hike (with less gear as you could leave some at camp) on the second day.
So even from the planning stage, it’s important to have an open conversation about what kind of trip you want and work together to ensure you both have a good time. Going for long, hard hikes with someone who doesn’t want to do it isn’t going to be fun.
You need the right kind of attitude to make sure the outdoor adventure is a success.
And once you’re out on the trail, it’s important to keep the spirit of cooperation and compromise in your mind. If your backpack is lighter than your partners, offer to switch with them for parts of the hike to give them a rest – or carry some of their equipment for them.
Camp life can be a relaxing time, but there are still chores and tasks that will need to be done just as at home. Setting up a tent or building a campfire might be challenging for newbie campers, so make sure you’re patient with each other and work together to make life easier.
Going on a backpacking trip means you need to work as a team – from planning the trip to hiking to your campsite, to set up.
All of this is a good practice of skills needed to make a healthy and happy relationship. Research has shown that camping is a great opportunity to reinforce existing bonds and strengthen any that might have been weakened over time.
There is also research which suggests that camping can be a good way to boost your love life as well. So if nothing else convinces you to get out there with a loved one, maybe that will…
Happier, Healthier People
But an outdoor adventure alone is also generally good for our relationships with others.
Being in the great outdoors comes with a range of benefits to our mental and physical health. Taking in some nature has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing, and improve sleeping patterns.
Sometimes when we don’t take care of our physical and mental health, we can be difficult to be around. It can be hard to deal with a partner who is always stressed or isn’t sleeping right.
So taking an outdoor-based vacation, like camping, gives us a better chance to reap these benefits to our health and wellbeing.
This can make us happier and more amicable people to be around. That’s important for family bonding and being a good partner, but it’s also important for our general relationships with the people around us as well.
So if you’re looking to spend some time together as a family, connect with a loved one, or just improve your relationships with the people around you consider taking an outdoor adventure based vacation.