Eleanor from Creative Countryside is my guest writer here today. We have lots of similar ideas about life, and so I’m really happy to have her lovely writing on my blog. She’s going to share some simple but perfect ideas for getting back in touch with nature. It’s so easy to disconnect and yet the benefits of living seasonally and slowly are huge. These ideas are things I will be trying to do myself too – although I have no TV, it’s all too easy to use the laptop all night!
So, now it’s over to you Eleanor…
How many times have you set out with good intentions to get moving, get outside and live more in line with the natural world? How many times have these good intentions been eclipsed by an urgent email, unplanned visitors or pressing tasks? In our fast-paced modern society, taking the time to connect with nature and the world around us usually takes a back seat and many relegate spending this time to holidays and the occasional slow weekend. It’s seen as a luxury rather than a necessity, just like many of the things we love and enjoy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Aligning your life to nature has many benefits, and I’ve experienced first-hand how slowing things down and allowing the seasons to influence your daily being can enrich everything you do. And surely that’s what we’re striving for, isn’t it? A fulfilling, wholesome life is not beyond your reach, and doesn’t have to be a distant dream. Connecting with nature improves both physical and mental health and wellbeing: in its simplest form it allows us to take in purer air and in turn encourages deep breathing. It also gives life a focus, without which many of us can feel scattered and distracted.
The first step is always the hardest, and sometimes a whole lifestyle change can seem quite intimidating. I’m not a fan of overhauling everything immediately – I’ve tried it and it has never worked for me – so instead why not try introducing these 5 simple ways to reconnect with nature.
- Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual, grab your camera or notebook and get outside. It doesn’t matter if you’re still in your pyjamas, bleary eyed and a little off balance – the whole point is to rebalance your awareness as the day begins. Capture the world around you: the light, the sounds, the temperature and feel of the air. Try doing this every day for a week and you’ll have clocked up over an hour of observations. And that early alarm really won’t make any difference.
- Set aside one evening a week (or just a few hours if you can’t manage a whole evening) to switch off those distractions and devices. Get rid of technology, turn off the TV and schedule in time to explore the outside world. Going for a walk is the simplest of pleasures on one of these ‘unplugged’ evenings, or if the light lingers why not explore your local beach, forest or nature reserve? These activities don’t have to be shelved as ‘weekend-only’.
- Get creative and be inspired by what’s on your doorstep. If you enjoy writing, keep a journal for a week and document the changes you see in your garden. If crafting is more your thing, then set aside an hour or so to press some summer flowers (just use a heavy book if you haven’t got a flower press!). If you’re short on time, why not pick up a book inspired by the natural world? I’ve read Meadowland and The Wild Places recently and both encapsulate the magic of the great outdoors. Looking for more inspiration? I’ve got an eBook for you – download your free guide to seasonal creativity right here.
- If you’re feeling a little disconnected with nature and the world around you, take a few moments to get grounded by standing outside barefoot. Scrunch your toes and feel the blades of grass tickling the underside of your feet. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or cold – stand for however long feels natural and take a few deep breaths, embracing the weather that surrounds you.
- Bring nature into your home by picking a few stems from the garden, or to keep it simple bring in some greenery to display on your mantelpiece. For just a few minutes of activity you’ll have a week or so of pleasure.
These tips won’t change your whole life, but they can still be life-changing. When I left my first post-university job to retrain for a new, more fulfilling career, I decided there and then that I didn’t want things to remain static. I’d relied for too long on convenience food, contact with technology rather than people and when I thought about what I really wanted it was always in a far-off future that I imagined I’d have to work for before achieving. If only I’d realised sooner that life doesn’t wait around, and neither should you.
If you like the sound of these ideas, then take things one step further and download your guide to seasonal creativity – a free 12 page guide filled with creative prompts and more tips on how to live alongside the ebb and flow of the natural world.
So what steps will you take to reconnect with nature?