My 5 favourite ways to Reconnect with Nature
I talk a lot in my blogs about how wildlife is all around us, even in the most unexpected of places, from built up areas and everything in between. I bang on about it quite a lot actually, and I’m always having wild encounters where ever our travels take us, I’ve even written blogs on how to increase your chance of spotting wildlife.
I truly believe that nature is there to connect with. It’s something that I strive to do on a daily basis, not just because it’s something I enjoy and am passionate about but because it helps me. On days when I’m feeling low and getting out of bed is difficult because my limbs are lead weights, or on days when I’ve spent far too long staring at a screen, my fingers monotonously hitting keys or scrolling through social media, reconnecting with nature helps me break downward spirals and lift my mood.
I recently wrote a guest blog for ‘Nature for Well Being’ which really called for me to look at how nature is instrumental in getting me through the daily struggles. It helped me to value my connection to it and I wanted to share with you some of the ways in which I seek out a connection:
Keep a diary
I’m not talking a day to day ‘dear diary’ scenario here, although if you keep a diary like that this is something you could easily incorporate into that routine, this is a nature diary. At the end of the day I sit down and make note of the weather, the moon phase, the places I’ve been and what I’ve seen that day, whether it’s the first swallow of the year, the opening of bluebells or the same blackbird that frequents the hedgerow I walk along each day. These sightings not only act as a great record of the wildlife encounter, and a tool to compare arrivals and departures of migrating species each year, but it encourages me to be mindful. Each day I look for things to put in my diary, it helps me become aware of my surroundings and gets me out of the bubble I so often get stuck in.
Maybe one of my favourites, I’m not sure yet, but it’s definitely a contender. This one is super easy to do, whether it’s just taking 5 minutes to sit with your bare toes in the grass, or it’s running your hands along the knots of gnarled tree bark. Just feeling grounded to your environment is a great way to connect with nature and it’s another great mindfulness exercise, to be aware of how nature feels. Simple and Satisfying.
Walk without distraction
Ok, so maybe this is my favourite one? To just get out and walk, but in order to harness the full affects of a walk outside you need to disconnect from everything else. Let someone know where you’re going and then switch your phone to aeroplane mode and hide it in a pocket, unplug your headphones take off your smart watch and just let your legs do what they do. It doesn’t have to be a long walk and it doesn’t have to be in the countryside. In fact, challenge yourself to walk where ever you are and see what signs of nature are around; birds over-head or perhaps trees in unlikely places?
Sometimes you just can’t get outside, some days it’s just too hard. It might be bad weather (although a trip out into bad weather is a great way connect with the elements), you might be ill, or it might just be one of those days. But all is not lost. There are plenty of books out there that will transport your mind out into the wilds; whether you want to learn something about nature, or you just want to be swept to far flung locations, books are a great way of connecting to wilderness. Get comfy by an open window and let your imagination do the work. I’m currently reading Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington and A Black Fox Running by Brian Carter – a fantastic feast for the senses.
This doesn’t sound like much, and actually I suppose it sounds quite boring but that might be because when you hear things you’re hearing them as a mish mash of sound all together. At the moment as I right this I can hear squawking birds, a steady hum of traffic and rain all bundled together. If I take the time to stop though, and home in on each noise singling it out I can actually hear, the individual patter of raindrops as they fall against the van, they sound different depending on what part of the van they’re hitting. The squawking birds are rooks, and they have young in the nest. Now that I’m paying attention there is a dunnock calling as well, and the alarm call of a blackbird and a slight breeze rippling through the conifer trees making a brushing noise as it passes. Taking the time to listen, and pick out individual noises helps me to be mindful and aware of all the nature that surrounds me on a day to day to basis.
So, there you have it. My top ways to reconnect with nature when I feel myself slipping or dwelling too long at the mercy of artificial light sources and the buzz of technology. They aren’t big fancy techniques, they are small and manageable, something that can be achieved on a day to day basis without having to impart too much in the way of effort. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re listening to, touching or looking at, just the act of doing it can be enough to break a cycle, identification can come later. Wildness is there for you to tap into, it’s just needs to be tuned into.