Think back to when you were a child. You probably spent a good amount of time playing in the dirt, holding worms, chasing birds and lying in the grass staring at clouds. You probably felt a deep connection to nature, but sometimes as we get older we lose that connection to the natural world.
Relaxing, outside playtime gets traded in for a fast-paced lifestyle filled with work, study time, shopping trips, drinks with friends, etc. We often find ourselves rushing around from one thing to the next, spending what little spare time we have with our smartphone in one hand. For some of us, the extent of our outside time might be walking to the mailbox, in which case we’ve lost our connection to nature.
Nature is a place to transform, awaken, heal and find a boost in creativity. I have always found that whenever I am feeling stuck or sad I spend some time in nature and immediately feel refreshed and more energized.
To celebrate Earth Day I invite each and every one of you to start reconnecting with nature. Take this as an opportunity to celebrate the planet not just today, but everyday. Even if you are someone who goes on a walk every day, find a new way to connect with Mother Nature. Everyone can make a positive impact on the environment. When we combine our small, everyday actions, we can make a more connected and healthier world for ourselves and future generations.
Here are some ideas to help get you acquainted with nature. May they inspire you to start a new nature-focused routine that can last a lifetime:
1. Plant Something
There is no better way to honor Mother Nature than to plant new life - a tree, flower, vegetable garden, etc. If you don’t have the time or patience to get your hands dirty there are tons of organizations you can donate money to as a way to help bring new life into the planet. For instance, we are partnering with the non-profit organization, One Tree Planted for Earth Day where for every item purchased one tree will be planted.
2. Reduce Plastic Usage
Did you know that plastic products contain dangerous chemicals and take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade? When plastic isn’t recycled it can release toxic chemicals into the air we breathe as well as nearby water sources. This can create a variety of health problems for both humans and animals. Plastic is everywhere and sometimes unavoidable, but there are ways to reduce plastic usage. Some of these ways include, using a reusable water bottle, avoiding items sold in plastic containers, using glass tupperware for leftovers, bringing your own mug to a coffee shop and not using plastic utensils and straws.
3. Make Contact With the Earth
Next time you go outside, take your shoes and socks off and sink your bare feet into the ground beneath you. Focus on the feeling that comes with your body connecting to the earth and the sense of feeling grounded.
4. Get Outside
Whether you have 10 minutes or 5 hours, find some time to be in nature every day. Taking a walk or hike to soak in the beauty of nature can be a very meditative experience. Every time you go on a walk try to really soak in the beauty of nature and experience the environment you are in; notice the patterns on the bark of a tree, listen to the squirrels rustling in the leaves, smell the flowers and the freshly mowed grass.
5. Unplug from Technology
Our smartphones, tablets, computers, and iPods are a huge part of modern life, but sometimes it’s necessary to unplug from technology to give ourselves the space to really connect to what matters most. The average person spends between 90 minutes to 5 hours on their smartphones each day - that’s a lot of minutes spent staring at a screen. If you unplug from technology think of all the free time you’ll have! The earth is happiest when we unplug, reduce our energy consumption and shrink our carbon footprint.
6. Leave Your Car at Home
Cars and trucks produce air pollution so whenever possible try to use a more eco-friendly form of transportation, such as walking, biking, public transportation or even carpooling. The fewer cars on the road, the better off our atmosphere will be.
7. Clean up Litter
Picking up litter is a simple and free activity that can have immediate results for your community and the people in it. Grab a garbage bag and find a local park, beach, river or neighborhood and start picking up trash. You can do this on your own or turn it into a group activity and make a fun day out of it!
8. Take Your Daily Activities Outside
Next time you plan to workout, grab your shoes, mat and weights and take it outside. Next time you make plans with a friend, suggest activities that you can do outdoors like a walk in the park, a picnic, berry picking, camping trips, etc.
9. Bring Nature Indoors
Buy some house plants, keep a vase of fresh flowers on your nightstand, place a jar of seashells in your living room and keep your window open. These are a few of the ways you can bring nature indoors, which will help to cleanse the energy in your home, giving it a more relaxing and natural atmosphere.
10. Don’t Waste Food
If you’re anything like me you always end up purchasing more food than you need. I encourage all of us to focus on only buying the amount of food we’ll eat so nothing goes to waste. If you notice your bananas going bad, make banana bread instead of throwing them out. If you have a ton of veggies that are about to expire, make a huge pot of vegetable soup or a stir fry. When you’re cooking, don’t dump peels and herb stalks; consider adding them to a homemade broth and then compost them after. Your freezer is also your best friend for storing food that is going to expire, from fresh berries, to a loaf of bread, freezing can extend the life span of food from a few days to a few months.
As you can see, connecting to nature doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a week camping and hiking to the top of a mountain. Connecting to nature can be anything from planting a garden to recycling your plastic. Nature is a place to connect to your true self so whatever it may be, just get outside, channel your inner child and start reconnecting to Mother Nature! You’ll be amazed at how much wonder, joy and clarity it will bring into your life.