By Sarah Wylde
I remember when I was little and laying down on the grass in the front yard, staring up at the sky or with my eyes closed and feeling so relaxed and at peace. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have both done or felt that way. Especially with what is happening in the world currently. That got me thinking. So, keeping with the theme of connections and something that can still be done while practicing social distance. Let’s talk about why connecting with nature is essential and beneficial for us to do. Nature is good for us because we are a part of it. In today’s fast-tracked world, we have to remember to take time to be mindful and breathe.
Just as a reminder, mindfulness involves being present in the moment curious about your surroundings and open to what you see. For example, if you are out for a walk in the woods, it would be listening to the leaves rustling in the wind, the smell of the dirt and air, birds singing, and more.
Here are some ways that you can connect back to nature by yourself:
Forrest bathing. You may be wondering what it is. In Japan, there is a practice called shinrin-yoku. Shinrin (forest) yoku (bath) is taking in the forest atmosphere and bathing the forest through your senses. Firstly, leave all the technology home or in the car if you drove there. After finding a spot that you feel comfortable and calm, take in the sounds, smells, and sights of the nature around you. Feel the trunk of the tree. The water is you are near, and the soil through your fingers. Forest bathing brings you to the moment, to slow down, and enjoy nature.
Cloud and star gazing. When you think of it, do you ever see people looking up to the sky instead of at their phones? The view in the air, either the clouds or the stars are magnificent to look up at. It brings a feeling of calm to body and soul. Seeing those infinite amounts of stars, you realize that you are part of something huge, the universe. It brings perspective to everything and puts you in the here and now.
Start a garden. Doing so teaches responsibility, and gets you outdoors and soaking in the vitamin D from the sun. Plus, feeling the dirt through your fingers and working outdoors for a long time not only reduces stress but helps you sleep. Once you find an ideal location, tested the soil, and chosen what you want to plant, you are all set to take care of your garden.
Dance in the rain. Obviously, not for a long time, you don’t want to get sick. But even for five or ten minutes to feel the rain on your face and body, and the wet bare ground on your feet. It can make a difference in your mood and bring you closer to nature. There is also a philosophical meaning behind it. We all face storms in our lives but with a positive mentality, and we will get through it.
Walk in the yard barefoot, also called grounding. Feeling the ground on the bottom of your feet is so calming and relaxing, but why? Well, when we are learning to walk, we learn it naturally—barefoot feeling the ground under our feet, where we have the sensory feeling that connects with a lot of our bodies.
Until next time. Be kind, be well, and stay safe.