The Art of Getting Grounded: A Beginner’s Guide to Sit Spots in Nature for the Entire Family

Over the last several decades, uttering the term “grounded” within families often brings up feelings of fear, unease, sadness, or even anger. Why? The phrase “you’re grounded” evokes mental images or memories of a punitive nature when as a child or young adult, your independence was restricted. However, what if we were to rethink what it means to “get grounded” in our families? What if we could help relieve stress from our bodies, minds, and even our relationships by learning to slow down and be present in the natural world? It would revolutionize the phrase.
One of my favorite ways to “get grounded” is through a practice called “sit spot.”
A “sit spot” is an opportunity for individuals to retreat to the natural world for either inward or outward reflection. It couldn’t be easier to implement. Individuals in your family select a spot in your backyards or local green space (while practicing appropriate distancing measures) to visit either each day. Then, you show up and unplug from your busy brain and tune into our senses. It is relatively easy to implement but takes practice to master. Why? Simply because it is hard for us to unhook from the never-ending monologue long enough to sincerely be present.
If initially you or your children feel frustrated or bored, it does not mean you are doing it wrong; in fact, it is quite the contrary. If you are aware of your restlessness, anxiety, or boredom, you are now becoming a more mindful person. All you need to do is notice the feeling and re-direct your concentration to your surroundings. Even if you have to bring your attention back to your surroundings 20 times over a five-minute time span, you are still rocking it. The next day it may only be 24 times and decrease from there. Habits are like flowers, they need time and the right conditions to grow. Staying positive is critical to success.
However, if you are finding that you or another member is struggling with the level of perceived inactivity, here are a few fun tricks that are perfect for beginners:

  1. Only sit for 1 minute times the participant’s age in years in the beginning. 5 minutes for 5-year-olds, 7 minutes for 7-years olds, etc. Adults don’t feel like you need to commit to the same time frame right from the start. That would be overwhelming. I found the most success by starting at 5 minutes and increase weekly by 5-10 minute intervals until I get to my age in minutes.
  2. Choose a spot within 5 minutes of your home and visit it a few times a week or even daily. The closer your spot is to your home, the more likely it will be that you or your children will use the spot as a place of peace and solitude. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. As the weeks go by, it will also make it easier to increase the duration of your sit spots.
  3. If you need something to focus on, try using only one of your senses. You could note the number of sounds you hear (bird calls, streams running, wind blowing) and from which directions. Or if your child likes flowers, have them count the number of flowers they can see and observe the types of colors they see. If you are artistic, bring along a nature journal and draw the details that you notice that day or write a reflection about your experience.

So, let’s take this time to reframe what it means to get grounded in our communities and our lives by starting a sit spot practice today.
For more information about the holistic benefits of sit spots for families, check out these online resources below:

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