Written by Blaire Peters
In the first few weeks of having my new daughter, life seemed impossibly perfect. Friends and family frequently stopped by to offer congratulations, my husband was home from work to share in the joy, and I was happily learning the needs of my new, precious baby. But within a few months, the newness and excitement began to dim. Our doorbell rang less often, my husband was back to work, and my daughter and I were left alone at home. Each day began to look much like the one before it, laden with naps, feedings, diaper changes, and daytime television shows. Before long, the lengthy and predictable days left me feeling dismal and lonely. So, I reached out to my physician for some advice. She encouraged me to spend some time outside every day, ideally in the form of exercise. At first, I was resistant to her suggestion, after all, it was the middle of winter and I would have to take my daughter outside with me, but ultimately I decided it was in the best interest of my family and myself.
And so, during my daughter’s morning nap time, I bundled her up, strapped her in the jogging stroller, loaded up the dogs, and hit the trails in the nearby foothills. Surrounded by nature, rolling hills, and meandering trails, I immediately felt the bleakness lift. As my daughter slept, I walked, letting the winter sun warm my face and my soul. I felt invigorated and inspired, like I was nurturing myself from the inside out. After that, we went every day, no matter the weather, and to this day hikes continue to be a daily awakening ritual.
I could have made a million excuses as to why taking a new baby on winter hikes would be too difficult, but I chose not to. My hikes have taught me that as much as my daughters happiness matters, so too does mine, they have taught me that by taking care of myself, I am better equipped to care for my family, and they have taught me the powerful impact a date with nature can have on my sense of well being.