Why Being Out in Nature Is Just What You and Your Child Needs

Does your child spend a lot of time in front of screen? I know mine does, either for school or for fun afterwards. Cartoons, Minecraft, Fortnight, YouTube…the list of entertaining reasons to enjoy a screen indoors is never-ending.

Here’s a huge bunch of reasons why it will benefit your loved ones to also spend more time outside in nature, and how it will help them build a better relationship to the planet at the same time.



We all know that fresh air and moving your body are good for you, and we can probably all remember being told by adults to “go play outside” as children, but why exactly is this such a good idea?

Being out in nature can be a natural antidote for stress.

You may think your child can’t possibly be stressed. With no responsibilities like bills, deadlines and mortgage payments, what could they possibly have to be worried and stressed about?

Well, actually, children are still learning so many things that we as adults take for granted. Concentration, and focus in school, how to navigate complex social relationships…These are just a few of them.

Being out in nature reduces blood pressure and stress hormone levels in your body, like cortisol. This is turn can enhance our immune system function, and improve mood. Who doesn’t want a better mood?

Speaking of mood, there’s research showing that being outside can reduce anxiety levels, build self-esteem and lower aggression. Also all things we wish for our children. And there’s even evidence to support that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) lessens in natural environments.


A study done by Pieters, Ayala et al (2018,) found that being out in nature reduced people’s feelings of being isolated, made them feel much calmer, and even elevated their mood. Considering what many of us have just been through during the covid_19 pandemic when sheltering in place, feeling less isolated could be just what we need.

When we get sunlight exposure our body produces vitamin D, which has a whole host of health benefits. Vitamin D aids metabolism, keeps your bones and teeth strong and lifts your mood. It can even support a healthy pregnancy. It has also be found to ward off osteoporosis, boost your immune system, and support heart, lung, and brain health. 

Now, some of the things I’ve just mentioned you may have heard of before. But this next reason might be a complete eye-opener.

When we spend time outdoors barefoot on the earth, we engage in “grounding.” 

What on earth is grounding?


Well, “grounding” or “earthing” is when we have direct physical contact with the ground, which has been shown to have beneficial physiological effects. The idea behind this is that we connect to the earth’s subtle electric charge, and that this benefits us.


This is for several reasons.
One is that the earth has a negative charge, and is constantly generating electrons that can neutralise free radicals in our bodies, therefore acting like antioxidants. Antioxidants usually come from certain foods, but can also come directly from the earth in this way. An easy way to remember this is antioxidants are good for our health, free radicals are bad.


Another benefit is that is helps support our circadian rhythms and nervous system too. Our circadian rhythms keep us synchronised with the day/night cycle. This feeds into how we regulate things like hormone secretion, body temperature, digestion and blood pressure, amongst several other things. Desynchronisation of our internal clocks has been linked to health problems.

Grounding has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and reduce pain, and encourage better sleep. What’s not to like?


The reason we ground less nowadays, is because we not only spend much more time indoors in school or at work, but even when we are outside we are often wearing shoes. This leads us to be disconnected from the earth in ways we didn’t used to be.

You and your family can ground by walking barefoot on grass or the earth, swimming in natural bodies of water, or even sitting in or leaning against a tree.

The only thing I’ll just point out is that of course in modern day society we need to be aware of things like pollution and pesticides, so choose where you ground wisely – and if you have pets running around in your garden, maybe keep an eye out of poops! 

So, as you can see there are many good reasons to spend time out doors, playing, grounding and having fun.


The other added bonus is that the more your children spend time in nature, the more they will start noticing the seasons, the creatures that live outdoors, and the plants – and how these things change. This will help them build better a relationship with nature, and help them understand why it’s so important that we take care of our planet by making good choices.
If they can learn how nature has an impact on us (for example through grounding) then they can also see how we have an impact on nature.


How to be a Perfect Parent

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This ebook will take you through everything I know about being a perfect parent, and I have degrees in psychology, psychodynamic counselling for children and adolescents and 20 + years experience of working with families.


Mom, can I have ice cream for breakfast?

Mom, can I have ice cream for breakfast?

…the question every parent loves to be asked first thing in the morning, before they’ve opened their eyes, before they’ve had coffee,  by a bouncy energetic child.

My dearest love muffin,

A huge part of parenting – and adulting…is preparing meals. 

After all, the food fairies don’t just appear in the night to do it all for us. (though sometimes kids think that’s what happens, and don’t realise the work that goes into it. – queue slightly frazzled hysterical laughter here.)

As someone who has served up a fair few meals for not just my family, but also kindergarten kids, I know how tricky it can be to satisfy picky eaters. 

Sometimes it feels like there are 500 different requests, and you need to create something that’s ticks 100 different boxes. 

It somehow needs to be something that:

is healthy

is liked by everyone at the table

has got a good balance of protein and carbs

isn’t touching anything else on the plate

has NO sauce

crunches just right

that makes you strong like superman

* isn’t soggy

doesn’t taste like fish

isn’t too “vegetable-ly”

has MORE sauce

has at least two marshmallows in it

has sprinkles on top

is something that a unicorn would eat

did I mention it can’t have sauce?!

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This unending pursuit is enough to make anyone scream with loopiness, as they tear out their hair.

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At one point I went through a phase where I’d wake up at night drenched in sweat, screaming ‘THERE’S NO BROCCOLI IN IT I SWEAR!!’ It would scare the crap outta my husband. The worst thing was in the dreams, I was serving cake to angry toddlers. CAKE. 

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So, my love, I know what it’s like to try and feed a family. All you want to do is make something yummy and healthy, with some treats thrown in from time to time. Does it have to be so goddamned hard?!
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There are lots of things that can make it easier, and inject some fun. The main thing is to let go of the idea of perfection or getting it “just right”. The more pressure you put on meal time, the worse they will feel. (for all of you)

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I’ve combined some resources here to make dinner time a friendlier experience for you. 

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Firstly, Nutritionfacts.org have created an Evidence Based Eating Guide that you can grab for free HERE.

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This has lots of facts and inspiration for how to put together Healthy Meals. This colourful guide is backed by years worth of scientific evidence and research, so you don’t have to spend hours fumbling around the internet for what the latest fad diet or health kick is.
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Secondly, sometimes it’s nice to take the thinking out of meal prep. I have been an on-and-off subscriber to meal plans from ‘Clean Food Dirty Girl’ for a long time now. Hop over HERE for a Free Meal Plan to see if you like it.

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For me, it frees up so much time to batch cook once a week, and then just reheat on the night. And Molly puts so many veggies in the meals that I know at least one will work it’s way down my kids digestive tract and feed his growing body.

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If this isn’t your jam, try to see if other meal-plans resonate with you. It can take a lot of stress out of figuring out what to cook.


Over at Bad Manners (previously known as Thug Kitchen – the hilarious foul-mouthed chefs), they are giving away a really cool Free wallpaper (as seen above) full of beautiful healthy foods. 

Don’t forget we eat with all our senses – including our eyes – so feast on this beautiful image and remember not to take it all too seriously. Grab it HERE. (just scroll down)

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Remember to involve your kids in the shopping, and cooking – hell even the growing and picking – of your foods. They will have fun and are much more likely to try new stuff out.

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If all else fails TRICK THE LITTLE SUCKERS! (said with love) 

Hide veggies in sauces and soups, throw greens in smoothies, disguise things. I’m going to leave you with a recipe for a healthy chocolate mousse that you just wouldn’t even know was healthy. 

I hope your meal times are filled with laughter and much munching.
Don’t forget there’s no rule against cranking the music up and having a dance party in your kitchen.
Do whatever it takes to make it fun.
(just mind out for hot stoves and sharp objects)
Life’s too short to spend stressing, when we could be smiling.

Love from,
Camilla the unusual parenting coach.

Want more good shit?

Is Your Child a Picky Eater? VIDEO

Ice-Cream For Breakfast? Break All the Parenting Rules. VIDEO

Secret Stash of Junk Food Goodies – Parenting Tip no. 25. VIDEO

On the Brink

My to-do list screamed at me.

It started as whispering at first.

Whispers that would creep into the silences, into the gaps during my day.

Then it got louder, until it filled every space inside me, it became a roar, distracting me from any sense of peace,and made me feel like I too would start screaming.

Looking around at the papers on my desk, the unwashed dishes, the mountain of unfolded laundry, a wave of overwhelm crashed on the shores of my mind.
Not sandy beaches,
but jagged edges.
Shards of rock.

Everywhere there were reminders of what I should be doing, of actions I should be taking.
Spiky.
Protruding thoughts.
Disarray.

I looked my chaos in the eye.
I held it’s gaze. And then I turned my back on it.

The internal storm was dissolved as I climbed into the bath that I couldn’t afford to take in the middle of the day.

Eventually,
Chaotic feelings snuffed out,
harsh voice of to-do gone.

Another voice emerged as I sat in that tub.

This one I listened to.
This one had answers.
This one was kind.

I just hadn’t heard it under all the chatter, the noise of “shoulds” and internal accusations.

This voice is quiet,
calm,
knowing.

In no rush at all.
Trusting.

I realised then, this voice isn’t going anywhere.
It’s me who abandons myself when I allow the voice of “to-do” to become louder and more important than the other voice.

I get to choose which I listen to.

I hold the power.


If you, or someone you know is suffering from burn-out, check out this article right here which has some useful pointers for how to claw your way out of the hole you may feel you’re in.


Are You on the Brink of Burn-out?

Mothers burn-out is no joke.


As a parenting coach, I see it all the time. Many of the women that I work with – once vibrant excited beings, come to me exhausted, lacking confidence and motivation.

Burn-out, a term coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, is when there are consequences to being under extreme pressure. Typically it can be exhaustion, overwhelm and inability to cope. It used to be reserved for people in “helping professions”, but can now apply to others too – including busy parents. Mothers get hit big time with burn-out as they are the ultimate “giver” – it doesn’t get much more “helping profession” than this – except they don’t get paid, and oftentimes even valued for the hard work they do, which is never ceasing.

The demands and high standards set for motherhood are impossible to live up to. Throw in some comparison on social media where people are posting pictures of how “right” they’re getting it, and it can often send moms into a shame spiral, leading them to try even harder, or give even more. Mother’s guilt is a real-life voice inside your head, and it judges every move that you make. It isn’t satisfied if you go out to work, and it isn’t satisfied if you stay home to raise the kids. It feels like you just can’t win.

Juggling the endless demands of motherhood is super hard, but I am here to relieve some of your burden and give you some tips that can help.

Firstly, there is a big difference between stress and stressors.
Stressors are the things stressing you out. Stress is the emotional and physical reaction you have in response to the stressor. You may not be able to change the stressor, but you can deal with the stress while the stressor is ongoing – and that my friend is GREAT news.

The human body was built to deal with acute stressors – like predators appearing out of nowhere to eat us. We were designed to drop everything and focus on nothing but survival in that moment. That means super charging our muscles so that they can run and we can flee, that means being instantly pumped full of adrenalin and other wonderful hormones that can help us get out of this situation alive. In those moments of stress and problem-solving, our bodies were also designed to switch off unnecessary things like learning, sex-drive, and immune function.

We, as humans, are amazing. We are survivors.

The thing is, nowadays the stressors in our lives aren’t lions chasing us. They are chronic ongoing stressors, like deadlines, road-rage, snarky neighbours, to-do lists, and feeling like there’s not enough hours in the day for all our tasks.

If our body is in survival mode or fight-flight-freeze mode for too long we start to feel the consequences. It starts to affect our mood, our sex-drive, our immunity. 

Why am I telling you all this?

Because we can’t always change the stressors – but we can change how our body feels about them. 

Easy steps you can do to change your body state quickly are tensing all your muscles for 10 seconds and then releasing. Do this a couple of times in a row and it can help release some of the tightness you’re feeling and sending your brain a message that the threat is gone, your body is allowed to relax now.
Physical movement is also great way to do this – so whether you’re into dance, karate, circuit training, running or yoga…using your body can help deal with stress.
Once some of that body tension is out, breathing exercises can really benefit you too. Again, changing your breathing can demonstrate to your body that you are safe and there’s no need to keep pumping stress-hormones.

Also, in order to prevent yourself from even getting to the point of burn-out, self-care is necessary.
I can almost feel you rolling your eyes right now. Who has time for self-care? When we are as busy as we are, there’s no time for anything but the bare necessities. When you’re running from task to task, appointment to appointment, who has time for a massage or a bubble bath? 

The truth is self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and pedicures.

Self-care is creating a life that you don’t need to escape from. 

It’s saying no to certain things so that you don’t overload yourself, and learning to prioritise your time differently. It’s looking after yourself and realising that relaxation is as important as breathing to your physical health. It is showing your body that there is no threat or predator so it’s safe for you to relax and switch back into learning and optimal immune function mode. Otherwise our health suffers, and if we burn out we are no good to anyone else. Better to look after yourself early mama, before it’s too late and you can’t function at all. You’ve got to fill your own cup so that you can better pour and give to others. Running on empty doesn’t help you or anyone else. Also, by looking after yourself you are teaching your children a valuable skill – how to listen to what their bodies are telling them they need. They learn by our role-modelling.

It’s learning to tune into how you’re feeling inside. When you are exhausted, that is not the time to volunteer to be the one to bake 140 cupcakes for the school bake sale or the one sewing costumes for the school play. Cut back on your tasks for the week when you feel yourself getting over-tired.

If you’d like some inspiration for how to look after yourself even better than you already are, grab your FREE Self-care Extravaganza pack today. This self-care pack is epic and will help you start moving away from stress and burn-out.


Also, be sure to sign up for weekly parenting love letters from Camilla Parenting Coach.
These parenting love letters keep it real, inject much needed humour into the serious business of parenting, whilst throwing perfectionism in the trash.


On the brink

My to-do list screamed at me.


It started as whispering at first.
Whispers that would creep into the silences, into the gaps during my day.
Then it got louder,
until it filled every space inside me,
it became a roar, distracting me from any sense of peace,
and made me feel like I too would start screaming.

Looking around at the papers on my desk, the unwashed dishes, the mountain of unfolded laundry, a wave of overwhelm crashed on the shores of my mind.
Not sandy beaches, but jagged edges. Shards of rock. 

Everywhere there were reminders of what I should be doing, of actions I should be taking. Spiky. Protruding thoughts. Disarray.

I looked my chaos in the eye.

Defiantly, I held it’s gaze.
And then I turned my back on it. 

The internal storm was dissolved as I climbed into the bath that I couldn’t afford to take in the middle of the day.

Eventually,
Chaotic feelings snuffed out, harsh voice of to-do gone. 

Another voice emerged as I sat in that tub.


This one I listened to.
This one had answers.
This one was kind.

I just hadn’t heard it under all the chatter,
the noise of “shoulds” and internal accusations.

This voice is quiet, calm, knowing.
In no rush at all.
Trusting.

I realised then, this voice isn’t going anywhere. It’s me who abandons myself when I allow the voice of “to-do” to become louder and more important than the other voice.

I get to choose which I listen to.

I hold the power.




21 DAYS TO BUILDING A NEW HABIT – DAY 20

21 DAYS TO BUILDING A NEW HABIT.

DAY 20

COMMITMENT.

This commitment to bettering yourself is about so much more than ‘just’ this little habit. Think of what you are showing the world.

That is CAN be done.

That it is possible to make changes.

That if YOU can do it, so can THEY.

That a life worth living might need an upgrade, and it’s possible.

You are role-modelling for others and giving them permission to go for their dreams too. You are role-modelling a new healthy behaviour for your family, friends, children…

.You are showing up for yourself, and by extension for your loved ones every day that you engage in your new habit. Be proud. You are part of something bigger that ripples out. The changes you are making are changing the world.

Be the change you wish to see in the world – Ghandi.

See you tomorrow for day 21!

Go back and read DAY 19 HERE.


21 DAYS TO A NEW HABIT – DAY 19

DAY 19

SUCCESS FAVOURS THE STUBBORN.

Refuse to quit.

Turn your back on the naysayers, and on the rain-on-your-paraders. Success favours the stubborn. The determined. The refuse-to-quitters.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable sometimes, because building a new habit isn’t all rainbows and kittens and sunshine and ice cream at the park. It will be hard work, but stay determined and you will get there.

Drama will come, but you don’t have to buy into it, or feed it.

Instead of pulling everyone into your drama with you, observe it. Be unimpressed (because drama loves an audience).

For example, if you’re DYING for a cigarette, instead of telling everyone just observe it. “oh isn’t that interesting? I feel like throwing myself out this window I am so fidgety right now because I really want a cigarette. Interesting. I think I’ll go for a walk instead.”Or “wow, I really want to quit this workout even though I’m only half way through. Interesting. I want to shout and swear and get angry and leave. Instead I will take a deep breath and keep going for five more minutes, and see how I feel then.”

Be stubborn..Shout positive slogans inside your head. Keep going. Get out your mantra.

Say it first thing in the morning, last thing at night. When it gets hard, when it’s easy. Say it over and over. Mean it. Believe it. Become it.

See you tomorrow for day 20!

Go back and read DAY 18 HERE


21 DAYS TO A NEW HABIT – DAY 18

21 DAYS TO A NEW HABIT (parenting or otherwise).

DAY 18

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER.

Screw perfection, perfection is an action killer.

When we focus on getting something just right or ‘perfect’ it can overwhelm us, or make us freeze, and we often end up taking no action at all because of all the pressure we put on ourselves.

Instead aim for ‘good enough’ and it will take you much further. My mantra when taking on a new habit or completing a big project is ‘done is better than perfect’ One of my mentors always say she aims for B grade work rather than A+. This attitude will stop you from freezing up, and will keep you moving.

If you can’t run, walk.

If you can’t walk, crawl.

If you can’t crawl, drag your sorry-ass bag of bones across the floor if you need to. Just keep moving.

If you’ve decided that your new habit will be becoming a good listener, then practice! Practice every chance you get. On the bus listen to your fellow passenger talking, listen attentively. In the doctor’s waiting room, listen and focus like never before while little Mr. Old tells you all about why he’s there and his weird long list of symptoms. Ask the bartender how THEIR day was, and then listen with an open heart.

Practice, practice, practice.

You will notice an improvement in your skills, and you will start to see yourself as the patient person you are underneath it all.

The more you identify with your habit, the stronger it becomes.

Be patient, keep going. You’re getting there.

See you tomorrow for day 19.

Go back and read DAY 17 HERE. Go to DAY 19 HERE