9 Ways To Reconnect With Nature
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
There are so many reasons to connect with nature. Reforming a relationship with nature:
- decreases stress
- improves your mental health
- gives you a break from social media
- shows you where your food comes from
- gives you perspective on life
#1 TAKE A HIKE
This is definitely the most generic piece of advice I could give you on how to reconnect with nature; however, you hear about this piece of advice most because it truly is an amazing way to do so. There are beautiful places to explore- forests, beaches, mountains, canyons- every spot is unique and deserves to be explored. You can hike for the views and to see wildlife, but you can also hike to forage for berries and mushrooms!
My favorite hiking snack? Unsalted trail mix
#2 GROW A GARDEN
Grow some flowers, herbs, or even step it up to start growing your own food! Say hello to your local honey bees that will come visit your plants. Growing your own garden is a great option if you are a home body. While you can transform your entire backyard into a food forest, it isn't necessary to begin reconnecting with nature. You can start small with your very own windowsill herb garden.
By growing your own garden, whether big or small, allows you to pay attention and nurture your plants, watch them grow, and eventually allows you to harvest and eat the food you put such hard work into! Food is a part of nature- after all, both humans and black bears share a love for eating berries! By reconnecting with where your food comes from, you are reconnecting with nature.
#3 DRAW OR PAINT OUTSIDE
I must admit, this has been one of the most important activities to help me appreciate nature. As a photographer and an i-phone user myself, I am constantly taking pictures of beautiful places. However, I oftentimes fail to truly take in a place. On more occasions I care to admit, I would take my photos, stare at the location for a couple of minutes max, say that I was appreciating it, but was only really appreciating a place because of what other people would say about it- almost like I only cared to brag about a place. Now, I believe we all, to some extent, are guilty of this. However, painting outside has broken me out of failing to appreciate what I am seeing in front of me.
I first experienced this when I decided to pull of the highway one morning at Red Rocks Amphitheater- a beautiful outdoor concert venue famous for its giant red rock formations. The only intention I had there was to sketch out and paint the rocks in front of me. Rather than spending a couple minutes there taking pictures, I spent one or two hours that day fixated on assessing the shapes and colors of the rocks and trying to replicate it on paper. It was such a peaceful and fulfilling experience that forced me to slow down and appreciate what I was taking in.
What I Bring When I Paint Outside:
- Water Container (I use an old spice container)
- Ceramic Plate (I use this as my palette)
#4 VISIT A STATE OR NATIONAL PARK
Did you know that there are 423 National Parks in the United States alone? The National Parks Service is there to preserve the most beautiful places in the country- and you should look into visiting one. Find your national park HERE.
National Parks do require entry fees, however not all state parks do. If you are tight on money, there are countless free places to enjoy nature, including national forests.
Fun fact: Austin and I managed to go to Joshua Tree National Park without seeing a single joshua tree. Impressive, right?
#5 WATCH A SUNRISE
Sunsets rock! But have you ever gotten up, gone outside, and watched a sunrise? Not only do you get an early start to your morning, if you listen closely, you can listen to the earth wake up. The time between the stars disappear and the sun rises, the birds begin to chirp. Then you begin to hear the bees, and then the breeze begins to pick up. Watching a sunrise allows you not only to open your eyes to nature, but also your ears.
#6 EAT A MEAL OUTSIDE
Have a picnic under a tree and watch the birds fly from tree to tree and the squirrels play. If you are too far from your backyard or your nearest park, enjoy your coffee outside on the patio of a cafe- i'm sure your coffee local coffee shop has some beautiful plants or flowers to look at. If you're at work, take your lunch break outside and find shapes in the cloud just as you did when you were a kid. I promise it will help you take a deep breath and relieve your stress!
Not convinced you should eat a meal outside? Check out @pbj.travels on Instagram!
#7 PICK UP A NEW OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
There are so many lovely ways to spend time in the great outdoors! You can go take a hike, but if that isn't your taste, consider trying kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, slack lining, fishing, or rock climbing. These activities not only get you outside, but they also get your heart pumping and help improve your physical health.
If winter is coming your way and it's snowing, don't fret- try skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or even consider snowbiking! Have you ever heard of it!? I haven't until I was a ski instructor!
Another great option if sweating isn't your type of fun is e-biking. Basically, it is a battery-powered bike that will do the work for you if you get tired of pedaling. This way, you can go bike longer distances without worrying about going up hills or having enough energy to get back home. My neighbor has one and LOVES hers.
There are many welcoming communities who want to be your friend and include you in their plans! Take my college town, Boulder, Colorado, for example. There is a huge climbing community there with a community Facebook page and climbing club at the University. They are very kind and welcoming to newcomers!
#8 GO COWBOY CAMPING
If you don't know already, cowboy camping is where you go camping without a tent. You'll need to plan ahead because you don't want to find yourself caught in a rainstorm at 2 AM. Cowboy Camping is an amazing experience- you are able to look at the stars, listen to the wind blow through the trees, and there isn't a tent wall separating you and nature. For a night, you allow yourself to be vulnerable to the elements and be woken by the morning light. That is, if you don't spend your entire night scrolling on Instagram and Tiktok.
Here are a few of our camping essentials:
#9 LEARN ABOUT A NEW PLANT OR ANIMAL IN YOUR AREA
How much do you know about your local plant and wildlife? Chances are, you don't know much about it. Do you know your state bird? What kind of edible plants can you find in your area? We recommend reading The Lost Art Of Reading Nature's Signs if you would like to know how to listen to nature. Each page is filled with long lost skills that likely none of you and your friends know.