What is it about the beach that leaves you feeling so amazing at the end of a lovely sunny beach day? That feeling of relaxation and achievement, of happiness at the memories you’ve just made, as you drift off to sleep? I’d never really thought about it myself before, so I’ve read about it a bit, and have decided to share with you the magic behind that amazing feeling.Here are seven great benefits of going to the beach (with your children).
It's fun. To continue doing what made you happy before you had kids is a form of self-care. After having children, it’s kind of easy to stop doing all those things that made you happy before you had kids, but this was one thing I wanted to keep up. The beach has always been my happy place, and I wanted to share this place with my children and make it our happy place. A bit harder now that we’re in Ireland, and can’t really time good beach weather, but this has just meant we’re extra prepared for all weather.
If the beach is not really your cup of tea, going with children might just change that… because the beach has so much to keep kids entertained. Sand, water, sea-life, games, exploring, etc which means they have fun! And you can’t help but have fun too!
It's relaxing. Just listening to the calming rhythmic sound of waves crashing on the ocean shore helps us unwind and de-stress from the sounds of everyday life. It’s relaxing just thinking about it. Why is it that the sounds of waves is so relaxing? Apparently, it’s easy for our brains to process this sound (it’s a natural white noise), and we go into a sort of meditative state. It’s like listening to the sound of our breath while meditating – a sort of active meditation (more about that in another blog post).
It's great for babies’ sensory development. Feeling the sand under their feet and between their fingers and toes is not only great for babies, walking barefoot on the sand is great for older kids, as it can help with learning how to walk, posture, and exposes them to beneficial bacteria which can actually make them less stressed as adults. You can benefit too, as walking barefoot on the beach allows you to absorb the earth’s negative ions through your feet – if you believe in that sort of thing. Otherwise, you get a pedicure for free from nature!
- You sleep better. The earliest and best night’s sleep my children have ever had is after a long day at the beach. Have you found the same? I was going to write something here about how the salty heavy air makes you sleep better, but reading up on it now, apparently this has been disproved as people living at or near the beach don’t report sleeping any better. It’s actually the exercise you get, and the soothing sounds of the beach that make you have a sound night’s sleep. And isn’t that music to your ears!
- You breathe in cleaner, cooler air. If you’re living in the city, the beach is a spot where the air feels a little fresher with the breeze coming in off the coast. The air in the suburbs is so different to that at the beach. Its almost always five degrees cooler, as you don’t get the heat island effect of heat radiating off concrete houses, roads and the pavement that is typical of most cities and suburbs. As it comes from the sea, the ocean breeze is not just cooler, but also cleaner - making you feel more awake. Your lungs will thank you for it!
- It makes you happy. Did you know that just looking at the ocean or any other bodies of water makes us feel good? According to the Blue Mind theory, just being near water (could be the ocean, a lake, a river, etc) allows our mind to enter a meditative state, of peace, calm and happiness in the moment. And if you don’t get a chance to go to the beach, just immersing ourselves in water, like a warm bath or shower, can have the same effect.
- You get into nature. Just by being in nature, you develop your children’s appreciation and love of the outdoors, which in turn allows them to value nature. As a bonus, you'll also find yourself less stressed, with a study finding that spending just 20 minutes in nature is all it takes to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body.