When the weather starts to warm up, we inevitably feel it in our bones as well—our own personal thaw has begun and winter’s hibernation starts winding down and we start to feel more alive. But those indoor habits can be hard to break. How best to take advantage of the emergent nature that comes with spring instead of spending the day in front of the television?
Throughout human history, we lived most closely to the land. It’s only in the recent centuries that we’ve barricaded ourselves in high rises and giant track homes doing our best to keep nature out as if it wasn’t an inherent part of who we really are. We lose something when we do this—a piece of ourselves that needs to connect with the natural world—and it’s evident in our national health crises both physical and mental. The more we distance ourselves from the earth, the more we move away from our own selves, too.
Check out some of these tips to reconnect and learn from the land:
1. Prep Your Garden
Getting fingers into the dirt is one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to reconnect with nature. If you’re planning a spring garden, now is the time to start preparing your soil and even planting some seeds. Studies have shown that gardening can help relieve depression and anxiety and boost mood.
2. Plan Local Hikes
You’d be surprised just how many city, state, or national parks may be a stone’s throw from your home. Our country’s parks are our nation’s greatest treasures. They preserve vital ecosystems including endangered animals and plants. They protect our history and our future and provide some real, genuine opportunities for soul-searching, reflection, and authentic connections with nature.
3. Ditch The Car
Warmer weather means it’s also more pleasant to be outside for extended periods of time. And if you put on a few extra pounds during the winter, getting active can help prep you for summertime. When the weather breaks, commit to walking anywhere that’s 2 miles or less from your home. It’s better for the environment too. Even if you live in an urban area, you’ll still smell and see spring sprouting up all around you. The air is alive with fragrance and warmth and just the act of being outside in it can liven your senses and connect you with nature.
4. Go Barefoot
While it’s probably not the best idea to walk barefoot for a great distance, digging your toes into the dirt, grass, or sand brings an important grounding experience that does more than just tickle your toes; it also tickles your inherent nature and that important connection with the earth.
5. Seek Outdoor Activities
You don’t have to limit your nature reconnection to a hike or day on the beach; there are lots of other activities that take place outside in the warmer weather, like local outdoor movie screenings, farmers markets, and community gatherings. You can even volunteer to help plant trees, wash cars for a cause, or paint a house with organizations helping underserved communities.
6. Make Art
Nature is most inspiring! And after the deep freeze you may find your creative drive has come alive. Look to nature as a canvas. Whether you spend a day taking photos, painting a beautiful nature scene, or writing poems outdoors, notice how being in nature changes the experience. Maybe you collect some flowers for pressing, or rocks for a project. Try making a piece of art in nature—for nature. Perhaps you arrange barks, stones, leaves, and sticks into a mandala or sculpture on your hike or outing and leave it there for the next hiker to add to.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger.
This blog appeared originally on http://www.sunwarrior.com/