sharing knowledge; enhancing wellbeing.
Recent research discusses the benefits of being in a natural environment. Yes, natural… as in not glued to your television/computer/phone screen… but, perhaps, (moving around) in the natural world. Now, I realize that in our urban environments this can sometimes seem to be a challenge. That being said, in every part of our globe we can find something in nature with which to connect. Just looking up at the sky and, as the clouds drift by, realizing that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves is available wherever you might be. Check out what’s growing around you and recognize everything that happens without thought or force, but naturally. How can you spend more time where you belong? I challenge you to take on the list below, and try to incorporate at least one of these activities each day.
1) Take a hike. Seriously. Get out there and get moving. Take a hike with your friends, partner, dog, and/or yourself! Google hiking trails in your area to find something that works for you. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks (depending on how long you plan to be out), your cell phone (just in case), and wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
2) If you can’t take a hike, at least take a walk around your neighborhood. I’m sure Fido won’t object if you take him along as well.
3) Go on a getaway (near or far) to your favorite outdoor location and have a picnic, read a book, practice yoga, meditate, have a conversation with a loved one, et cetera.
4) Watch the sunrise or sunset at home, at the beach, or near a body of water, or any other peaceful outdoor space.
5) Go for a bike ride somewhere. Enjoy the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. Be mindful.
6) Visit a city park and/or botanical gardens. Bring along a camera and take pictures of your favorite things on your journey.
7) Work on and/or create a home garden. If you have space outdoors, wonderful! What’s stopping you? If you’re lacking in outdoor area, there are plenty of in-home ideas that can get you producing plants in no time at all! Bonus: You get to grow your own food and/or flowers, saving you money at the grocery store, and helping you to be the healthiest you possible! Check out Garden-Eats for tips on home gardening.
Sometimes it isn’t possible to make it outdoors. While I recommend that you do your best to get outside as much as you’re able, if you cannot, try these next few tips to help you connect to nature when you’re stuck inside:
7) Visualize your favorite outdoor location for a few minutes. Perhaps while you are on your mid-afternoon break, when you wake up, or before bed (really, whatever time you want to “get away”), close your eyes and picture yourself in your favorite natural space. Use all five senses to get yourself there – imagine sounds, sights, smells, touch, and even tastes (think: salty seaside air – just saying that in my head brings me to my summer days as a child in Cape Cod… I can hear the light sound of waves reaching the shore, the sunlight and breeze on my face, the taste of shaved ice from the snack shop, the sound of the swings creaking as they move back and forth, the feeling of the sand between my toes, the beautiful view of the Atlantic, the sight of my family enjoying time together, and the feeling of peace, love, and contentedness).
8) Look at pictures of natural environments from your favorite vacations. Recall the feelings that you experienced in those places.
If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, we were designed to be immersed in natural environments. While I am grateful for warm, happy homes that protect us from the elements, I understand that our bodies crave and enjoy being close to Mother Earth. So, get out there and find your connection to nature, and actualize relaxation!