Living in the big city means we aren’t too inclined towards outdoor activities. It’s much easier to spend time inside. Even with friends, we might just head on to a cafe for a chat. But it also means that we tend to neglect the outdoors. When I spend too long holed up inside, I begin to feel a strong pull towards connecting more with nature - to come out of hiding, to seek freedom, to feel grounded and alive.
I notice that I immediately feel refreshed and find a new awareness of the environment around me. I revel in this space that has an uplifting impact on my soul. It’s important to incorporate more opportunities to connect with nature. The screen can’t be your only source of connection.
Here are 12 ways to connect with nature
Grounding activities such as yoga (maybe select a thinner mat), running or hiking are great for helping us connect back with the earth! We are often separate from the ground we walk on, with every path we tread paved in cement, concrete or carpet. Rebalance this separation by spending a little time each day with your feet on the earth, sinking into the grass, or leaving behind footprints along a beach.
When going to and from work, running errands or doing your everyday chores, snap yourself out of autopilot and take a more scenic route. One of the things I love about staying at my partner's eco-house in the hills is the invigorating drive to work. I drive past the Ferntree forests, running creeks and farmsteads. Even though it takes me twice as long to commute to work, I feel on top of the world when I arrive.
This piece (pictured above) is something I created with shells and corals that had washed up on the shoreline as I went on a walk. While it wasn’t something I could keep, the process of foraging is so intriguing and has made me so much more appreciative of the things we can find in nature. Also, check out the below video of artist, Belinda Evans and her creative process. She is a Melbourne based artist who handmakes beautiful pieces all inspired and made from nature!
So many activities, meetups and playdates seem to take place in restaurants, bars, cafes, movie theatres, yoga studios, shopping centres etc. Let's flip this around and start suggesting activities where you meet your friends outdoors instead. Opt for picnics, walks in the park, berry picking and even camping trips. Incorporate Nature Into Your Travels: This was taken in Nikko, Japan during the start of Autumn. ( picture )
One of my favourite places to travel to is Japan. This place just displays a stunning balance between nature and the sprawling neon cities. For those that love the intense, swelling energy of buzzing cities, balance this by spending a few days retreating to a tiny cabin in the woods or even swinging up high from a treehouse!
Take the time to declutter your home of manmade medicinal products. Incorporate oils like lavender (to help you sleep), clove, calendula (to heal your skin), tea tree (for your acne) and coconut oil (so many uses) into your medicinal stash. Bring the outdoors inside: succulents at our home ( picture )
We have been busy decorating our home with lots of hardy succulents. Plants are a wonderful way to bring the outdoors inside. Bring greenery into your home - plants cleanse the energy of our homes and filter the air we breathe.
Dinacharya is a daily routine that respects your Ayurvedic dosha. To start, begin your night ritual when the sun sets and rise with the sun. Generations before us would have called it a day after sunset and their body clocks will have been much more aligned to the sun and the moon than ours are.
By surrounding ourselves with computers, mobile phones, etc, our natural body clocks are misaligned. This makes it more difficult for us to wind down each night. The additional challenge for this experiment is to spend one night without switching the lights on in the house after sunset, allowing your body to truly adjust to the night.
At the base of it, food is such a vital part of connecting with nature. See how you can incorporate more ways of connecting your food with nature. Perhaps, spend some time at a farmers market and explore the produce on offer. Add one new vegetable or fruit into your basket each week that you’ve never cooked with before.
If you are fortunate enough to have some space at home, why not grow your vegetables and herbs too? There’s nothing more rewarding than cooking with fresh organic ingredients you’ve taken the time and love to grow yourself. Even in the smallest of apartment balconies, you can grow herbs and veggies like rosemary, mint, dill, chives, sage, thyme and super red hot chillies. Don't have space at home? Research community gardens around your area instead.
In recent years, I’m become enchanted with how the natural cycle of the moon can affect our moods and emotions. Release the old at the full moon and create intentions for the new moon.
A simple walk takes only 10 minutes out of your day and can be quite a meditative experience. Enjoy the freedom of exploring, adventuring, meandering and wandering without the rush to get from A to B. Take the time to really experience the environment you’re in - notice the patterns on the bark of a tree, follow the Fibonacci sequence on a pine cone, smell the flowers, and soak it all in!
Adding to our earlier point about nourishing with whole foods, gardening is incredibly healing and can be so grounding for our base chakra. It allows us to connect deeply with nature by observing how plants are nurtured and grow with the environment they’re in. The beauty of slowing down and moving with what feels natural is such a poignant lesson that we can learn from watching seeds sprout into a plant.
Connecting with nature is so simple. This list is filled with 12 ways to connect with nature - some as short as taking a ten-minute walk to something as long-term as gardening. It’s something that you can slowly incorporate into your life.