Eight Ways To Connect With Nature
Life has been turned on its head in the last year and a half and we have actively been encouraged to stay at home in order to save lives.
For some, this has had the unfortunate side effect that as things are beginning to reopen, they are somewhat reluctant to go back to activities that we used to enjoy/benefit from...
We are here to tell you that it is still important to get outside each day and take advantage of the natural world.
Many of us spend our days in the hustle and bustle of daily life, where we are often disconnected from nature.
In this article, we will offer eight ways to connect with nature on a regular basis. Because when you connect with nature, you connect with your true self.
Get Yourself Outside
The first is to get outside for at least 20 minutes every day. This can be done by taking a walk or sitting outside while enjoying your morning coffee or evening tea.
Studies have shown that people who spend time outside can improve their mental health by reducing stress and increasing the levels of happiness hormones such as dopamine.
Even better, they may also be less prone to depression since contact with nature is associated with an increase in serotonin production.
There's nothing quite like hearing the birds chirping or feeling the breeze on your skin to make you feel a sense of peace.
Fresh air has proven to be a natural mood enhancer that has been shown to lower anxiety and improve sleep.
Find an Animal and Make it Your Goal to Introduce Yourself Each Month
The second way that I suggest how people can reconnect with nature is by finding an animal (or plant) who interests them and making it their goal to introduce themselves each month or even better, to take them home.
For example, if you find a bird who has been visiting your neighborhood, it can be very satisfying for both the person and the animal when they finally meet face-to-face.
It is important to note that not all animals are good candidates for adoption at this time (e.g., how would you care for a baby howler monkey?) but with some research, it is possible to find an animal who can be cared for by you.
You don't need any special equipment or expertise-just make sure that your home environment will allow the new addition to live comfortably and safely in their natural habitat.
This type of connection not only benefits the animal but also provides enrichment for you and your family.
Introducing yourself to an animal of interest does not need to be a long-term commitment, nor do you need any special skills or equipment.
But this type of connection can provide many benefits both for humans and animals alike: it is fun, enriching, educational, and a wonderful way to practice tolerance and empathy towards all the creatures on this planet.
Get a (plant) life
Regardless of what size space you have to plant in, from a balcony or garden to the tiniest windowsill – growing your own plants brings an instantaneous boost.
This is because your plants will love you unconditionally, and give you back in abundance how much nurturing they receive.
Getting an idea of what your plant needs; when it needs water, whether or not you need to add nutrients, where to best place it in relation to the sun to encourage growth will automatically bring you closer to the cycles of nature.
Remember, you do not have to be an avid gardener or have a green thumb - the goal here is really to reconnect, recharge and relax. When you relax, your plants will too.
Eat fresh, seasonally-sourced foods
Eating more locally sourced foods can help to preserve the environment - if you want to do your part in helping to preserve the environment, one of the easiest ways that you may be able to do so is by eating less processed foods and more locally sourced ingredients.
The idea is to emphasise a seasonal approach to food, minimise food waste and offer balanced nutrition.
Eating seasonally produced and locally sourced foods will again help you feel more connected to your surroundings and nature.
You can purchase this type of food from your local farmers' market, or even grow them yourself.
If you do happen to purchase it from the farmers market you will know the food's provenance and how fresh it is.
You'll also be supporting the local business, instead of relying on supermarkets who are often too far away.
These farmer's markets not only sell goods and produce they make, but they also sell produce from other farms and producers in the area.
Take a (nature) hike!
One way to get the most out of your daily exercise quota is by reconnecting to nature.
By having an exercise quota and taking a daily walk in nature, you will feel more energised and less stressed.
You can also find peace by hiking with your friends or family - which is certain to be an experience that the whole group will enjoy!
Lose the devices/earbuds and take a mindful and unplugged walk in the fresh air instead.
Immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of the outdoors; take in the scenery, bask in the sunlight and relish the wind blowing through the trees.
FEEL your surroundings and, more importantly, acknowledge and appreciate them.
The benefits of walking in nature are numerous. So many in fact, that Japan's doctors can now prescribe nature walks for their patients as a preventative measure.
Walking in natural settings has been proven to reduce stress, boost serotonin levels and dopamine production, promote deeper sleep and more restful moments, increase immunity levels and even maintain healthier skin.
Break in the wild
Now that things have finally begun to open up again, have a think about getting back to nature and take a break in the countryside.
Camping under the stars is one of the best ways to experience nature.
If you've never done it before, don't worry - you'll be surprised at how easy and fun it can be and find that sleeping under the stars is not only an exhilarating experience but also incredibly restorative as well!
Check out the websites of your local national parks and forests, or how about booking an escape cabin in the woods?
If camping is not your jam, just try to get out of the city if you can, even for the day.
A trip to the beach/woods/mountains, even for the day will boost your mood and clear out the cobwebs
No matter how you decide to experience nature this year, I have no doubt that it will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face another day!
Take your workout outside
As the vast majority of us have been confined in our homes for the better part of 18 months and have had to resort to online work/socialising/exercising and it's all beginning to feel a bit "old hat", perhaps it's time to make the most of the summer weather and take your workouts on tour!
This could be in the form of bringing your devices outside (provided there is WiFi) or skipping the tried and tested for something completely new to you.
Or how about joining an outdoor sports team?
Signing up for an organised club workout could be just the thing you need - being outside in nature, meeting new people, socialising, and getting a decent workout in the process - what's not to love?
Spend time at your local animal shelter
We've all been there: you've had a bad day - a day SO bad it can only be fixed by a room full of puppies and kittens!
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to provide a home for an animal, however, you could instead go and spend some time at your local shelter.
Volunteering at an animal shelter will benefit you in so many ways; your stress levels will, no doubt, be brought down to virtually zero, you get closer to nature and you would be doing a selfless deed by helping those who couldn't otherwise fend for themselves which, in turn, would do wonders for your mental health.
These shelters need as many volunteers as possible so, how about you go and offer your services?
Not many people know this but it turns out that the little creatures have a way of healing us on a much deeper level.
Our mental health greatly benefits from our relationships with animals because they allow for unconditional love to be experienced which can counteract feelings of loneliness or depression.
The world around us is a beautiful place, however, we do have a tendency to ignore and even see it as a nuisance which is why sometimes it can be hard to take the time to get out there and experience it.
That’s why we have put together these eight ways to connect with nature in your daily life, so you can enjoy its benefits without having to break away from work or other obligations.
We hope they inspire you to make a little more room in your schedule for some natural beauty!
There are plenty of ways that spending time outside connects people with their own selves as well as others - and makes them feel better overall.