Positive Parenting: The Power of Connection, Kristine Petterson

parenting tips, connecting with your kids, mindful parenting, holistic wellness, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Parenting through the ups-and-downs of our pandemic times can be quite challenging, with ever-changing situations—school open, school closed; mask on, mask off; quarantines on or off, shortened or lengthened, along with all of our health concerns, and loss of loved ones, in-person connection, social activities, and more. It can really take its toll on us, our children, and our parenting.

Perhaps you started 2022 out with hopes of building more connection with your kids, or having more peace in your life and household, but have since found yourself tearing your hair out at some point in the day, or cramming in all those needed chores and collapsing exhausted at night. Yet connecting mindfully can make all the difference in enjoying our lives and relationships despite the challenges.

What is this whole connection thing, really? While connection is described as a link or relationship between people, ideas or things, I like to quote Dr. Brené Brown in my Mindful Parenting program: “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

This connection business is powerful stuff.

I resisted it for a long time thinking I just didn’t have time or energy for one more thing. Now I know that connection is not something extra you have to do; it’s just making a choice to do all the things differently. Whether it’s family dinner, scrubbing your shrieking child’s hair in the bath (we’ve all been there, right?), buying groceries, pumping gas, or even cleaning house. We can rush through our whole day feeling resentful and undone, or we can take each step with love, looking for magical moments to connect with self and others.

It’s helpful to acknowledge that, at first, creating deep mindful connection habits takes work, focus, and awareness throughout your day-to-day grind. For me, it also requires a commitment to reversing downward “should spirals” so that I can put the stuff of life on hold to truly see and be seen. I used to think some people were just born into a life of calm and ease and deep eye-gazing, and other people (like me) were born running around like chickens with their heads cut off and never really seeing anything other than the next check box on the never-ending to-do list.

What I’ve learned is that connecting meaningfully is a muscle you build. Step by step, I found I was able to apply strategies to my relationships with myself, partner, friends, kids, and clients that cultivated connection and deepened the fun we had. I took lots of detours on this journey, so I’ve broken down what I feel is the easiest path to powerful connection here for you.

Pause

Slowing down is key, and also really hard to do if you’re not in the habit. I actually had to get ridiculously deliberate about making space for connection, but now the practices that felt difficult and disjointed are comfortable, and I feel irritation and resistance when I don’t stick to them.

It might look like:
• Setting a timer several times a day to just check in with your breath or to put your hand on your chest to see if you can feel your heartbeat.

• Making a sign to put up in rooms where you usually feel rushed and frustrated (for me it’s the kitchen) that says “Stop. Breathe. What about life is beautiful right now?”

• Putting your phone on its charger for a few hours each day so you can connect with certain tasks and people without distraction.

Notice

Check in with what you are thinking and feeling when the timer goes off or you see that sign. Are you frantic and weighed down by the dozens of tasks on your list? Exhausted by the never-ending work of keeping up appearances?

It might look like:

• “I’m overwhelmed by all that I have to do today.”

• “I feel hungry or thirsty or need to move my body right now.”

• “I’m feeling really lonely, yet I’m surrounded by people.”

• “I’m holding my breath, rushing from one thing to the next, as if that will help me go faster.”

Connect

Make a conscious connection to what you want to be thinking and feeling in this moment—you don’t have to change what you’re doing. Keep chopping veggies or mopping the floor and look for something kinder, easier, and more joyful to connect to in that moment.

It might look like:

• Shifting from hate-cleaning to connection cleaning—turn on some tunes, take a deep breath, and sparkle up the home you love.

• Asking loud obnoxious children to play a game outside while you breathe easy and enjoy making dinner in peace and quiet.

• Calling your grumpy child (or partner for that matter) over for a hug and a deep breath. Bonus points if you do it without saying a word—just smile and look them in the eye.

Will they think you’ve been smoking something?

It’s possible. And honestly, these practices can provide a wonderful rush. The hormones created by connection are the real deal and don’t cost anything. I cringe to think about how much beauty and sweetness I missed when I was focused on the miserable acts of doing, cleaning, and box-checking. I know I tend to get distracted by the never-ending emails, errands, and obligations, but that I’m going to do the work to slow down and connect to the everyday magic along the way.

Petterson lives in Moscow, Idaho with her husband and their two children. She left public education to become a yoga instructor, sleep specialist, and mindful parenting educator. She can be contacted via her website at http://www.kristinepetterson.com.

Excerpted from the Spring 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Sweet Greens & Carrots, Val Wilson

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Spring is the time our bodies go through a natural cleansing. We have just spent months indoors, typically eating more heavy foods seasoned with more fat to help keep us warm. When spring comes, it’s time to lighten up your cooking and include cleansing green foods.

Green foods contain chlorophyll, which has many healing properties such as detoxing the liver. The liver, gallbladder, and nervous system are organs to focus on feeding and nurturing during the spring. Chemically similar to hemoglobin, a protein that is essential in red blood cells as it carries oxygen around a person’s body, chlorophyll also can help with wound healing, cancer prevention, and is good for your skin.

Kale and collards greens are in this category of green foods. Both are high in vitamin C, protein, and iron. Celery helps to cleanse the blood, which brings one’s energy up to help with the busier time of spring. 

Carrots are a great vegetable to add color and sweetness to any dish. In the recipe below, the sweetness of the carrots and raisins help balance out the bitterness of the greens. Also known for helping to purify the blood, carrots are high in vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. Seasoning this dish with lemon juice and brown rice vinegar brings in the signature flavor of spring—sour. 

Sweet Greens & Carrots

2 cup carrots (pencil-cut) 
2 cups celery, including leaves (diced) 
Olive oil
Sea salt 
1/2 cup raisins 
2 cups collard greens (diced) 
4 cups kale (diced) 
4 cups summer Napa cabbage (diced) 
1/4 cup water 
1 T. tamari 
1 T. brown rice vinegar 
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds 

In a large pot, sauté the carrots in a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for a couple of minutes. 

Move the carrots to the side of pot. Add the celery and another pinch of sea salt to the middle of the pot and sauté for a couple more minutes.

Layer the raisins, collard greens, kale, and cabbage on top of sautéed vegetables. 

Add the 1/4 cup water, tamari, and brown rice vinegar. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, until vegetable are soft. 

Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and sunflower seeds.

Mix everything together and serve warm.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Spring 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

A Key to Resilience: The Difference Between Powerless & Helpless, Debra L. Smith, PsyD, CMMT

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Resilience refers to the strength of our coping skills when faced with difficulties in our lives, how well we manage stress and stressful situations without losing our health and well-being. Another word for resilience is elasticity, how quickly and easily we stretch during and bounce back from physical, emotional, and psychological challenges.

Our resilience is like a rubber band, stretching without breaking when pulled and returning to its original shape when released. Paying attention to what stretches our resilience, lessens our elasticity, and returns us to our original capacity, keeps us healthier and happier.

How we think about the events in our lives has a direct impact on our resilience and elasticity. Take two words we use interchangeably to describe what happens to us–powerless and helpless. We use these words when we find ourselves in situations where we believe and feel like we have no control.

Changing our perception of these words and how we use them shifts our experience, ability to cope, and ability to bounce back. Using the word “powerless” to represent the situation and characteristics of the event, and the word “helpless” to represent our internal and external reaction to an event can be one way of maintaining resilience.

Recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting what is—finding oneself in a powerless situation—reduces the length to which we stretch our resilience. Changing our self-talk from angry, sad, and helpless language to more compassionate and soothing statements allows our resilience to return to its original capacity more quickly.

For instance, getting a flat tire while out running errands can really mess with our day.

It is a powerless event. We cannot change what has happened—the tire is flat. Standing by the side of the road cursing, kicking the tire, and yelling at the sky about “bad luck” or “the world is out to get me” really stretches our rubber band of resilience by keeping us agitated and aggravated.

A more resilience-saving response would be to pause and take deep breaths. We stay calm and keep the stretch minimal. Recognizing we are in a powerless situation, accepting the moment, moves us more quickly out of anger or immobilization to taking effective action. Next, to address feelings of helplessness, we can change our internal self-talk to a more compassionate response.

For instance, instead of “Only bad things happen to me. I have the worst luck! This is going to ruin everything,” we might try, “Wow, this is unfortunate and challenging. Flat tires happen to all of us. There are other people dealing with this same problem. I can deal with this. Although it isn’t desirable, it is manageable.” The second set of phrases keeps us calmer, not stretching the band so tight, and returns us to calm and balance more quickly.

Bullying and insensitive personality traits of bosses and coworkers is another example of powerless situations.

None of us are successful changing someone else’s personalities. Instead, we find ourselves feeling helpless and hopeless. We become aware that we are telling ourselves things like, “What did I do to deserve this? What’s wrong with me that he is picking on me? There’s nothing I can do here so I just have to take it.”

Instead of these stories, tackle our feelings of helplessness with compassionate self-talk such as, “This is really difficult, and it hurts to be the target of unkind behavior. Anyone in my situation would feel the way I do. Many have difficult bosses and need to find a way to cope. I’m capable and able to find a way to take care of myself in this situation.” This self-compassionate shift brings relief, a lessening of self-blame, and healthier action and behavior.

Once we move out of our helpless state, we can be ready with assertive statements such as, “Please don’t raise your voice to me when discussing my work. It makes it very difficult to listen to the content of what you are saying. If you are willing to lower your voice, I am happy to discuss what I need to change to meet your needs.”

Anticipating and preparing for events that have a greater likelihood of happening can cut through our immediate sense of powerlessness and helplessness and lead us to take positive action sooner.

Traveling by air is a perfect example of a powerless event we too often find ourselves facing. Unexpected changes, delays or cancellations of flights leave us in a powerless situation. As individuals we cannot make the airline have more staff, more planes, less mechanical failure, and be invulnerable to weather patterns. Standing at the gate yelling at the customer service representative never results in the power to change those things.

Yet, we do not need to be helpless.

Using our breath to calm down, engaging self-compassionate statements, and being ready with rebooking and hotel apps to act immediately keeps our resilience intact.

Weather is another expected and sometimes unexpected, powerless situation. None of us have learned to turn tornados into soft spring breezes. Preparation works here, too, and is something that many of us use. Everything from carrying a raincoat and umbrella and closing windows before a rainstorm to having a NOAA weather radio, safe location to retreat to, and plan for reconnecting with loved ones after a natural disaster is preparation used to build and maintain resilience and confidence and lessen feelings of helplessness in the face of a powerless situation.

Lastly, making sure we take care of ourselves after powerless events is critical to regaining the elasticity of our resilience. Connecting with others who are going through or have been through similar situations reduces the sense of aloneness and isolation we feel after such events. Reaching out to others and combining resources for recovery efforts after natural disasters builds strength and community. Using self-help groups and psychotherapy to recover keeps us from staying stuck in a powerless situation with helpless feelings.

Taking time to mentally separate powerless situations from helpless feelings and thoughts improves our resilience capacity. Accepting what is right in front of us in the moment cuts through anger and resistance to what is happening and moves us to action more quickly. Tuning into our feelings and thoughts alerts us to the helpless state we find ourselves in, and compassionate self-talk moves us out of that state and into healthier and more effective action. Using these strategies keeps the elastic band of resilience from breaking.

Debra Smith resides in Marquette as a licensed clinical psychologist (PsyD, CMU) and certified mindfulness meditation teacher (UC Berkley Good Science Center). She is currently teaching mindfulness mediation, self-compassion, resilience for health care professionals, and worksite health to many populations, groups, and organizations. dls40@aol.com

Excerpted from the Spring 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Creative Inspiration: Overcoming Limbo with Courageous Creativity, Roslyn Elena McGrath

creativity, tips, therapeutic creativity, holistic wellness, U.P. holistic business, U.P. holistic wellness publication, creative inspiration

As we move into U.P. spring, it’s hard to know just how gradual this movement may be, how long a gray, muddied limbo between snowy wonders and warm blossoming may go on, and how many restrictions, challenges, and losses we may need to weather through this time. These possibilities alone might nudge us to descend into the doldrums.

But we don’t have to feel diminished by any of this. We can choose to expand our world by exercising our innate creative capacities. In my years teaching visual art in public schools, I saw over and over again how by a certain age, most kids would decide they were good at an art or not. That inner critic can loom so large that many who did not see themselves as “the artist,” “the singer,” “the musician,” etc., might never participate willingly in such activities again.

Do you have to excel at fishing to go fish? At cross-country skiing to go ski? Creativity is part of human nature, and much-needed to come home to ourselves, reduce stress, and increase self-expression and novelty. And if anything is going to combat the stay-at-home same-old same-olds, it’s novelty!

So no matter how rusty, shoddy, or splendid you may believe your creative abilities are, you can take some time this season, even for a few minutes at a time, to juice up your life through your creativity.

If you feel at a complete loss as to where to begin, check out what kinds of guided creative experiences might be available to you locally or online, and pick one that sparks your curiosity.
If you already know of something creative you enjoyed doing as a kid, consider exploring a do-able version of it that excites you now.

If you create regularly but feel you’re in a bit of a slump, try a new art form.

It’s likely to take you in a new direction and/or spice up your old one.

If any of these suggestions make you nervous, that might just indicate you’re on the right track! As artist Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.”

If an act is truly creative, it’s a step into the unknown, so there will be plenty of opportunities for your inner critic or inner curmudgeon to try to hold you back. But you can decide which part of you is in charge, and go for it anyway, if only for the pure daring of it!

So, here are some solid do’s and don’ts to help you along the way:

DO create a regular routine of creative time. Don’t wait for inspiration to descend from on high. While it‘s wonderful when that happens, research shows habitual creative time not only increases how much you create, but also helps you generate new creative ideas. So if you’re not creating regularly, put it in your calendar, repeatedly, even if for short bursts of time after prepping in advance.

DONT try to critique or refine your creation at the outset. There will time for that later. The beginning is the time for the rough sketch, the raw draft, the stumbling notes. It’s the time when a field full of possibilities is being explored. Newly-born humans don’t walk, and newly-started projects don’t usually seem like masterpieces. Nurture this tender stage. And if you choose to share this part of your process, only do so with those you can trust one-hundred percent to cheer you on.

DO open up to new experiences. They can trigger new creativity, even if seemingly unrelated.

DO your best to open up your senses more fully to what’s around you. Listen, look, smell, feel, sense with greater attention, and you may find new inspiration even in familiar surroundings, as well as feel more fully present and alive.

DO shake things up if you get stuck–create in a new or even unusual location, do a repetitive non-creative task, or go for a walk. In fact, the connection between walking and creativity has been confirmed by research. According to a 2014 Stanford University Study, a person’s creative output goes up an average of 60% when walking, whether indoors or out. (And a little personal confirmation—ideas for this article came to me while out on a walk.)

DON’T become overwhelmed by a big idea or project you may have come up with. Chunk it down into manageable steps, and even micro steps if needed.

DO remember that everything man-made once existed in imagination only, and honor that magical capacity within yourself and others.

DON’T listen to the naysayers in your head or your life. Be bold, and put your attention on your freedom to choose to create instead.

DO remember that creativity includes more than fine art. It can also be how you put together a meal, a gift, a room, a schedule, resolve a challenge….

DON’T use the truism above to justify shying away from a creative activity that intrigues you.

DO hang around with other creative people. Creativity can be contagious!

DON’T imagine what “others” might think or say about your creation. It’s none of your business anyway. Your job is to nourish your creative faculties.

DO get enough sleep. The brain requires adequate sleep to process ideas and to function well. And the rest of you needs sleep to be able to carry out your creative ideas effectively.

Roslyn Elena McGrath supports fulfilling your innate potential through soul and intuition-based sessions, classes, and products at EmpoweringLightworks.com, and publishing Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine.

Excerpted from the Spring 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Positive Parenting: Mindfulness for Parents during COVID-19, Angela Johnson

mindful parenting, holistic wellness, U.P. holistic wellness publication

With COVID-19 here and affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, it is not surprising that many families are reporting heightened levels of stress. The pandemic is placing additional pressure on parents in many different way—from working from home, job insecurity, or complete job loss, to homeschooling, heightened behavior issues, and a lack of social connection. Although no two families are experiencing these challenging times in exactly the same way, we are all in some sense struggling through this together.

However, the struggle need not be for naught because as Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” Mindfulness is one of these great opportunities, as it is a powerful tool scientifically proven to reduce stress—the very thing we need! By turning our attention inward, we can still the waves of restlessness and worry in our active lives. Mindfulness teaches us how to do this.

As a parenting educator and meditation teacher, I feel especially called to share mindfulness with families now more than ever. I focus on both formal (meditation) and informal (everyday activities) mindfulness practices to help people learn to be more peaceful and fully present to their lives. I will share a few of these practices with you here.

Parents, this is a little reminder that you have to take care of yourself first and foremost. Peace begins within. Then it spreads.

Let’s begin with a couple of definitions . . .

“Mindfulness is paying attention to your life, here and now, with kindness and curiosity.” —Dr. Amy Saltzman

“[Mindfulness is] the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here are some exercises for you to begin your practice today:

Sitting Meditation

Meditation is both a state of deep present-moment awareness, and a practice intended to bring about that state (Ananda Sangha Worldwide). There are many different meditation approaches and techniques ,but ultimately, the universal intent of all is to learn to experience life more from your center, and less from external input. The benefits from this practice are overwhelming, from stress reduction to lower blood pressure and better sleep. I recommend using a guided app or taking a class to get started. Make sure you practice in a quiet space. Sit up with a straight spine, as relaxed awareness rather than sleep is the goal. Close your eyes, gently lift your eyeballs and focus, and breathe. For the best results, a daily practice is recommended, even if for only a few minutes each day.

Mindful Breathing

The mind and breath are interconnected so that when the breath slows, the mind automatically follows. Therefore, taking the time to bring awareness to your breath can have an immediate calming effect. Try it and see for yourself.

You might also place a reminder somewhere in your home or at work that says “breathe,” or get in the habit of taking a few deep, intentional breaths at the start of your day, or when you get in the car, or before responding to your child’s behavior . . . the options are endless. Our breath is always with us, so it is just a matter of intending to notice it, follow it, and then feel the relaxation that results.

Walking Meditation


Walking meditation is an ideal practice for bridging the gap between outward activity and inward peace. It is best to walk outside in fresh air. Any amount of time is good. As you walk, focus on the natural flow of your breathing. Smile. Listen. Look. Feel your feet as they touch the earth. Walk tall, and with strength. Notice and enjoy the fresh air on your face and the natural beauty of the day that surrounds you. Be present with your body, mind, and soul on this walk, in this moment.

Mindful Nature Play

This one is especially enjoyable to practice as a family. Go outside in nature and play. Follow your child’s lead (inner child or actual child). Get down on his or her level. Be present to him or her, to this moment, and to the natural beauty surrounding you. Be free and have fun. Climb a tree. Build a fort. Roll down a hill. Follow a bug. Feel your connection to all that is and you will find peace.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating will not only bring you pleasantly into the present moment, but will also enhance your gratitude and enjoyment of food. Begin by taking one minute at mealtime to take slow bites and savor. Notice the smell, the texture, the taste. Think of where your food came from. Feel your connection to the earth in each bite. Be silent and grateful for this moment

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

Angela Johnson, Great Start Collaborative (GSC) Director for Marquette and Alger Counties, works at Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA). The Great Start Collaborative (https://www.maresa.org/early-on/marquette-alger-great-start-collaborative/) works in communities throughout the state to ensure Michigan is making progress toward four priority early childhood outcomes.

Excerpted with permission from the Winter 2020-2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Bodies in Motion: Snowshoeing Satisfaction, by Jesse Wiederhold

snowshoeing advice, winter sports in MI's Upper Peninsula, holistic wellness, holistic practices, holistic businesses physical fitness

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula holds a treasure trove of scenery. There are many unique mountain ranges, roaring rivers, and cascading waterfalls that exist only in the wilderness of Northern Michigan. Summers in the U.P. are beautiful, to say the least. Warm sunshine allows for excellent beach days, while the cooler nights allow for perfect campfire conditions. As summer fades and snow covers the ground, new roads open. No, you cannot drive your car down these roads, but you can definitely snowshoe on them.

Snowshoeing is an active hobby in which nearly anyone can participate. All it requires is for you to walk.

Snowshoeing is an underrated activity—it takes you places inaccessible by regular foot, has low impact on the environment, and is good cardio as well. Since snowshoeing is so easy on the body, you will burn a lot of calories without even knowing it. If you use poles, you’ll burn even more calories. According to Yukon Charlie’s, a snowshoe manufacturing company, someone who is 180 pounds can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour from vigorous snowshoeing.

“Poles are a helpful accessory for snowshoeing,” says Jackson DeAugustine of Down Wind Sports. Down Wind Sports is a U.P. sports retail store specializing in snowshoeing, snowboarding and other “Yooper” sports. The store has locations in Marquette, Houghton, and Munising. DeAugustine grew up in Newberry, but now lives in Marquette. He explains that poles help you snowshoe uphill and across uneven territory with ease.

DeAugustine notes one of his favorite places to snowshoe is Munising’s iconic Pictured Rocks. The view along the coast is his favorite part, and being so close to the water. Pictured Rocks is an excellent location to snowshoe because there are so many interesting things to see. There are waterfalls, forests, and a long shore complementing the deepest Great Lake. He adds that snowshoes are nice to transport you to climbing spots, or whatever other winter activities you enjoy that require getting somewhere in the woods that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Not only is snowshoeing good for your physical health, but it can be beneficial mentally as well.

Sight-seeing is a favorite U.P. attraction, even for residents. It feels good to get outside and breathe in crisp, fresh air. Snowshoeing can be a fun social outing, or a time to just get out in nature and reflect. It is in these picture-perfect sceneries that we can sometimes process our busy, problematic lives. The solace nature provides is unobtainable anywhere else.

Northwoods Adventures, a U.P. outfitter/guide service, offers a helpful reference to other places to snowshoe. In the Marquette area, they recommend the Eben Ice Caves in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area. I have been there myself, and truly feel this one is a must-see. It is located by Eben Junction, and if you go during the winter, you will likely find a trail of parked cars leading in.

When you arrive, there are lots of porta-potties marking an open field entrance to the caves. You trek your way across, and are met with Pure Michigan all around you—the birds singing, and the sun sneaking its way to you through the bare branches of tall trees. Snowshoes are great here because they will bite down and give you the traction you need to climb up slippery, winter slopes. When you reach the temporary caves, you will thank your snowshoes and yourself for making the journey in!

Other recommended places for snowshoeing include Yellow Dog Falls off County Road 510, and Hogback Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain off County Road 550.

If you’re closer to Houghton, Northwoods Adventures suggests you check out Hungarian Falls around Tamarack City. You can get there using a seasonal road off Sixth Street, and then go down a snowmobile trail until you reach a foot trail near a bridge. Mt. Lookout and Breakers are two other good spots for snowshoeing in the Houghton area.

Now you know where and what, but perhaps still aren’t sure when or how to get started.

The best conditions for snowshoeing are when there is freshly fallen. light, fluffy snow. This is so the snowshoes can do their job keeping you afloat. Temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees are best, so the snow is able to stick, but not be so freezing that it’s uncomfortable to be outside. Remember to always dress in layers, so you can add or remove them, keeping a pleasant body temperature during your outdoor activities.

You can start by going to your local sporting goods store to get yourself a nice pair of snowshoes. You will want a larger shoe if you are going to be covering longer, more consistent surfaces. If you are going to be hiking mountains, or through uneven terrain, you may be better off with a smaller shoe. Poles are not required but can help reduce fatigue, especially on longer journeys. Ask questions, and staff members at outfitters will be more than happy to get you the right gear for your needs.

As with any journey off of familiar roads, you should always consider your safety. Avoid going alone. Bring a compass, tell someone where you are going, and tell them when you should be back. Bring a lighter, a multi-tool to hnadle unexpected equi9pment malfunctions, a water bottle, a whistle, maybe some snacks. The last thing you want to be in the wilderness is unprepared.

My final word of advice to you? Get outside, and try snowshoeing this winter sports season. You won’t regret it!

Jesse Wiederhold, twenty-one, is a senior English writing major attending Northern Michigan University. He is a pet dad to three cats, and loves to write. He spends time with friends, goes on hikes, enjoys snowshoeing in the winter, and is an avid aquarium enthusiast.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.