The beautiful summer months mean warm sunny days, vacations, and exciting outdoor adventures. It’s also a perfect time to observe, appreciate and connect with nature on a new and deeper level. We all have felt the strain of being confined in our homes more than we would care for during the last few years. Now is the time to journey back to nature and rediscover fascinating plants, animals, and places as you venture out this summer. It’s important to remember the valuable role nature plays in our lives, business, and the world, they all depend on our love, care, and appreciation of nature.
Summer sunshine creates the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Whether you’re traveling far or staying close to home, here are some great ways to connect, explore, and enjoy the outdoors with yourself, or with family and friends.
FIND NATURE WHEREVER YOU ARE
Nature is all around us! Yes, we are all so very busy in our day to day lives that we forget to slow down and appreciate the things around us. Start by planning an activity to do outside, try visiting a park, beach, hiking, or running on a trail. If you live in an urban area that requires a drive to the nature spot you desire, motivation and time may seem like difficult insurmountable obstacles. Find a fellow nature enthusiast/partner who can share on these mini outdoor adventures, you can hold each other accountable, this way you're less likely to bail out on each other. Plus, enjoying time outside with a loved one or friend makes it all the more fun and enjoyable, and it's a double win for reconnecting with each other and nature. If you don’t have a nature buddy try searching for group walks, hikes, and outdoor excursions in your area from websites such as Meetup or Huck Adventures.
CONNECT WITH NATURE USING ALL YOUR SENSES
Once you find your happy place outdoors, slow down, allow yourself to quiet your mind, breathe deeply and focus on listening, and take it all in. What can you hear? Relax into the moment, where your eyes are drawn, look close, and notice details, shapes, and patterns. We know instinctively that being outside in the fresh air is good for us, we are nature and nature is truly powerful on our overall well-being and can help boost our mental health. Touch, and be curious with your hands and feet. How do your feet feel on the ground beneath you, take notice of pressure, sensations, and movement? Touch a leaf, tree, brush, water, or moss, and observe the sensation you feel as your rub your fingers on the object. Smells, so many it can be hard to decipher, from wildflowers, grass, wood, organic compounds, creeks, and crushed leaves, take the time to discover and enjoy the scents, and smells. Finally, the sense of taste can be tricky while out in nature unless you’re an expert on native berries, flowers, and plants. I do not recommend eating or tasting anything unless you are 100% confident that it is safe to do so. However, you can explore taste by packing a lunch or snack to eat while outdoors, as you take that first bite really savor the textures and flavors and tastes that fill your mouth. Notice as your taste buds become stimulated, again focus on the experience surrounding mother nature. While outside really tune in to all of your senses and follow what seems interesting and new to you, appreciate yourself and our planet, the power is in your mind.
EXERCISE IN NATURE
Exercising and moving outdoors has incredible health benefits for our body and mind, as well as our posture, balance, and core strength to name just a few. Try turning off the tablets, tv, and phones and get outside - whether a walk, run, gardening, bike ride, or even a quick walk to the store it all boosts your wellbeing. Exercising outside can boost our mood, vitamin D, and energy levels. It also can reduce feelings of sadness, anger, and exhaustion. Exercising in the elements is a humbling experience and can make everyday issues seem less troubling, it helps you gain perspective. Exercising in the water offers even more benefits, the water’s pressure acts as your friend and helps circulate the blood in your body more efficiently. Whether you walking along the beach, surfing, sailing, or swimming it’s all movement that strengthens your muscles. It helps you burn more calories and reduces some of the impacts our bodies and joints typically experience during exercising outside of the water. Whatever exercise you decide, why not try it outside, bringing your closer to glorious green spaces and beautiful bodies of water.
BRING NATURE TO YOU
Often it can be difficult to get outside and connect with nature, perhaps because of where you live, how busy your life is, your health, or how safe you feel. Our suggestion is to bring nature to your home! Having plants in your home is a terrific way to have something natural to smell, see and touch. How about growing your own herbs or flowers in your home, all you need is a pot or garden, a balcony even would work. If planting isn’t your thing, how about setting up a bird feeder? Connecting with nature does include the animals that live in it. Enjoy the beauty, sights, and sounds of watching a hummingbird drink the hummingbird nectar (simple sugar and water solution) in your feeder. Or try feeding the robins, bluebirds, or brown thrashers and becoming a reliable source of food for them. Finally remember watching documentaries, films, and television programs about nature are also great ways to learn, reflect, and connect with nature.
Nature is truly amazing, a miraculous gift we can enjoy each and every day, do what we can to be a part of it, and look after nature too. When you connect with nature you experience a sense of freedom and ease, take notice of its beauty, and find meaning and an emotional connection that will stay with you for a lifetime.