5 Outdoor Activities to Beat Holiday Stress

Published online on Sierra magazine’s Green Life blog, November 27, 2013

5 Outdoor Activities to Beat Holiday Stress

The holidays often bring families together, which can be both a wonderful and an extremely stressful thing. If you’re anticipating a full house of stir-crazy relatives this Thanksgiving, plan a moment to give everyone some much-needed breathing room and get outdoors. Younger family members can run off some energy and adults can work up an appetite with these outdoor activities perfect for your holiday celebration. However you celebrate, take a minute to step outside this Thanksgiving (if only to avoid your grandmother asking for the fifth time why you aren’t married yet). 

“Turkey Trot”: Many cities host annual Thanksgiving walks or runs to benefit charity. These events are a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and give to others. Most have kids’ races as well, so the whole family is welcome. 

Take a hiking scavenger hunt: If organized group exercise isn’t your thing, gather the family and head up the mountain. While many Americans post up on the couch for the day, enjoy having the run of your local hiking or biking trails. More active members of your group can work up a sweat in preparation of the feast to come, while others have the option of enjoying the sights and sounds of fall. And though hiking scavenger hunts are technically intended for children, you could totally find six different trees before your little cousin. 

Make a centerpiece: Though this activity is generally geared toward younger participants, holidaymakers of all ages can enjoy the search for the perfect table topper. Scour the backyard for leaves, branches, and pine cones — anything clean is fair game!

Visit a national park: Though many parks are closed for the holidays, some will stay open and welcome holiday visitors. In Florida, rangers at the Everglades National Park will be hosting guided programs to celebrate the holiday weekend, and others are even open to campers. Find an open park near you

Check out fall foliage: Go see the colors of fall before they disappear! We’re headed toward bare branches, and Thanksgiving is a great time to take a walk or drive to see the changing leaves in your area. Bonus points if you collect leaves for your centerpiece while you’re at it.

Read online at SierraClub.org

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