Connecting With Nature
Over the last year many of us have found a new form of solace in nature. Throughout lockdown we have all come to realise how important it is to have a connection with nature and what it feels like to have that taken away from us. Whether it’s a lung full of fresh air, the sound of the birds in the trees or the joy of watching a flower come into bloom. Taking the time to pause, notice and enjoy nature can brighten your day and provide a real lifeline.
Connecting with nature when you're out and about
Nature is all around us and with the sun beginning to shine a little more it’s out there, ready and waiting for you! You can build a connection with nature in your garden, on your balcony or in the local park or community gardens. If you have space, why not put out a bird feeder and see who comes to visit? I you’re an early riser why not go for a stroll and keep an eye out for an urban fox or listen to the dawn chorus. Spring is nesting season for birds so when you’re out for your lunchtime walk you are likely to hear the territorial calls of blackbirds, robins & wrens all staking claim to the biggest & best trees! You can find out more about how to encourage birds here.
Going for a walk or sitting in the park or your garden gives you the opportunity for some real downtime. Whilst I am a bigfan of audiobooks & podcasts try to leave your headphones at home and connect with nature using all of your senses. Listen out for birdsong and the wind blowing through the trees, look for bees and emerging butterflies, watch the clouds go by and appreciate how nice it is to be able to just be in the moment. Our lives have become very busy, even more so for many during lockdown, but we don’t always have to be multi-tasking. You don’t even need to be going anywhere in particular when you’re out on a walk, we can just be going for a walk. Using all of your senses to connect with nature can help to create a sense of calm and find joy in the world around us.
Take the time to notice the world around you
If you can, try to take your time when you’re out in nature. If you going for a walk and it’s a particularly lovely day, why not take a book & a refreshing drink with you. Settling down on the grass or a comfy bench in a sunny spot can be the perfect way to spend an hour or two. Breathe it all in! If you’re a keen gardener it probably won’t be long before that moment of quiet reflection at home turns into a spot of weeding, a bit of pruning then before you know it the lawn mower is out! Studies have shown that contact with Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in soils, triggers the release of serotonin, the happy chemical in your brain that acts as a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. If you’re curious about the benefits of connecting with nature you can find out more on the Mental Health Foundation blog.
Theres Something for Everyone
The natural world offers us so much and it’s really important that we take the time to appreciate and protect it. There are lots of creative outdoor activities that we can all get involved with, why not take a sketch book on your next walk or some water colours if you enjoy painting? Taking the time to appreciate the finer details and find beauty in nature can help us to build a more meaningful and lasting connection. Does your local park have a notice board? Many friends groups host exercise classes, coffee mornings, walking clubs or clean-up groups, visit the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum to find out more. Taking care of nature at home or out and about helps us to feel like we’re doing our bit to look after the planet. Often it’s the little things that hold the most value and have a truly positive effect on our wellbeing.