Today, April 22, is Earth Day. If that’s not a good enough reason to rekindle your connection with nature, then I don’t know what is!
As a society, we spend so much of our time indoors. A lot of us work indoors, eat indoors, relax indoors, and even do our daily cardio indoors. Earth Day provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy your own backyard. This can be a nice hike on a nearby trail, a bike ride along the boardwalk, enjoying a cup of tea on your patio. Oftentimes, we take mother nature for granted and assume that the beauty and comfort she provides will always be accessible to us. However, celebrating Earth Day is a great reminder that we must all do our part to keep our planet healthy. Mother nature has a vast amount of beauty to offer, and in that beauty lies a variety of healing benefits. Becoming one with nature is also a great outlet that can help with recovery.
Did you know that not spending enough time outdoors can actually be harmful to your well-being? There’s a researcher named Richard Louv who coined the term “nature deficit disorder.” Louv argues that many children are not spending enough time outdoors, and spending significantly more time indoors than they were several years ago. Louv believes that not spending enough time outside actually can cause problems such as attention deficit disorder, obesity, depression, and a lack of use of our senses. Take a look around and you’ll see that more and more people are spending more time sitting on the couch watching TV than walking or sitting outside. All in all, this means we need to get our butts outside and not spend so many hours each day in an airconditioned room. We need to get out there and physically smell the roses. This is important for people of all ages to do. If you are going through recovery, avoiding things that cause depression and practicing new activities and routines that brighten your mood will make recovery a little easier.
Whether you live alone, with your family, friends or just your pup, there are a number of activities that can help you become one with nature, and aid you in your recovery.
- Joining a running or hiking club can be a great way to use friendship to help you to get more in touch with nature. Joining a group of people who love to be outdoors is a sure way to help motivate you to get outside. Also, planning an activity with other people will help hold you accountable. If you have a furry friend, have them join you on a nice stroll that both of you will enjoy.
- Take advantage of that Vitamin D! A lack of natural light and Vitamin D can have negative affects on our mental health, often leading to higher levels of depression and in some cases Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is caused by a lack of natural light. While natural light is a great mood-booster, make sure that you are lathering on that sun block, popping on those shades, and limiting your amount of time in direct sunlight.
- As crazy as it sounds…walk around barefoot! Like being out in the sun, this is an activity that needs to be done safely. Research has shown that grounding ourselves in nature can be done by simply sinking our feet into the grass. This is not only a great way to remind you of all the beauty around you, but can also allow you to walk around and spend less time in a seated position!
- Take a nice drive to one of nature’s natural wonders! If you are lucky enough to live close to the ocean, the mountains, or another natural wonder, take a drive out there and explore. This is a great way to discover a new location that you’ve never been to, but can also help to put things in perspective, and have a greater appreciation for the world around us!
- Do your part to help the earth! Cutting down on pollution is another way that we can appreciate and reconnect with mother earth! Picking up trash when you see it, reducing your consumption and waste, and conserving water are three simple ways that this can be done.
As many would say during the stir of everyday life, “stop and smell the roses.” While this is just a saying, it carries some important weight. Reconnecting with nature is a great way to eliminate stress and put things in perspective – two key tools that can help with recovery. What’s great about nature is that it’s not something that has to be enjoyed alone. So next time you are bored and are tempted to pick up the remote control, call your friend and go for a nice nature walk!