By Lauren Galley
It’s finally spring! I am ready to feel the warm sun, relax and enjoy my surroundings of nature. Being a teen, I know firsthand how it feels to be overwhelmed with school, work and family. I sometimes find myself totally immersed in my laptop and phone as I write midterm papers and stay up to date with friends. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to go on a picnic. Gathering a group of friends and heading to the park is not only relaxing, but I feel energized after an afternoon full of sunshine and fresh air.
If you are like me and have about a million things going on, chances are you don’t take out time for relaxation as often as you should. Even though we don’t “feel” stressed, oftentimes we are carrying around a great deal of anxiety. Sometimes we even physically carry it on our shoulders, such as sitting hunched over your computer at work. Studies have shown that spending time in the “green” (outdoors) can actually benefit your mental health and general sense of well-being. Considering the gorgeous weather Houston has in April, consider this your opportunity to better your life and plan something fun!
As I mentioned before, I love going on picnics with friends or family. There is nothing better than good food, company, a nice park, and simply time to relax. Since I am in college, my friends and I are always looking for affordable ways to have fun. Sitting around at home can become a bit boring and the movies are expensive, so the park has been our fun getaway while the weather is so lovely. Oftentimes we pack food from home, or even have a cooking party before we leave and make something easy and delicious to throw in the basket.
If you are in a rush or planning a last minute picnic, you could stop by Subway and grab a sandwich to eat once you get there. When it comes to deciding where to go, well you have come to the right place. Make sure to check out the article in the April issue of Houston Family Magazine for awesome ideas on some fun picnic spots in Houston! You can even make a day out of it. If you are going to be on a lake, grab your fishing gear! Most parks have beautiful walking trails throughout the woods, so bring your best hiking shoes and get some exercise.
In today’s society, a large majority of us, particularly my peers, are immersed in our cell phones 24/7. I learned a really fun game from a friend of mine who lives out in Los Angeles, where this game is apparently very popular. Once you get to a restaurant, or in this case your picnic spot, everyone puts their cell phones in the middle of the table (or blanket). The first person who picks up their phone normally has to pick up the tab, but in this case you can improvise by having them clean up after lunch. It is a fun activity that forces everyone to set their phones down for a few minutes in order to have some honest conversation with each other. It is amazing how little we are required to actually speak to each other nowadays.
I don’t know about any of you, but many of my fondest memories have been made in face-to-face situations. I couldn’t necessarily tell you a texting conversation I had that has changed my life, but several defining moments come to mind that involve actual human interaction. Life is all about the memories you make, so get out there in the great outdoors and make a lifetime of memories with one another. Time is the one thing you can never get back, so make sure you don’t waste too many hours playing Candy Crush!
Now that you have gotten the 411 on picnics and outdoor fun, what are you waiting for? Call up your friends, set a date and time and make some arrangements for food and games. Figure out which picnic location you would like to explore and go for it! Life begins right outside your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to try new things every once in a while. It might just become your new favorite memory.
P.S. Don’t forget the Frisbee or football, and by all means remember your camera!