8 Ways to Connect with the Outdoors Right Now
We know that being outdoors is good for us - with benefits including increased happiness, lower stress levels and heightened ability to focus - being in nature not only makes us feel better - it actually improves our mental, physical and spiritual well being!
With all of the recent events in the world, many of us may feel quite disconnected from our relationship with nature. While some of us may have been satisfied by paying some extra attention to our houseplants during our isolation, others just simply need the experience of getting outside and reconnecting with the outside world - while still abiding by the new normal that is social distancing.
Why not get started right now? Today, we have put together a list of 8 ways to connect with the outdoors, including ways you can do that in your own home - and ways to connect to nature through social distancing. Let's get started!
8 Ways to Connect to Nature During Social Distancing
1. Meditate in the Great Outdoors
Meditation is a great technique to help gain control of your thoughts and emotions. It can help you realize when your feelings are getting the best of you, and how you can reel ‘em in. Plus, it forces you to live in the moment and be more mindful.
Add nature to this already soothing vibe and you will leave your meditation session with increased feelings of peace and calm. And you can start in your own backyard!
Right now, a lot of us are stressed out. So, if you aren’t a regular meditator - well, now’s an excellent time to start! Begin with a minute or two. It will be hard at first. Yet, with practice, it gets easier (we promise).
2. Go On a Solo Hike or Picnic
Let’s face it: It stinks that we can’t all see each other right now. Humans are social creatures and we find deep meaning in making those bonds and connections. But what about using this time to reconnect with yourself? We rarely look inward and for some of us, we find it difficult to truly treat ourselves right.
Also, it’s completely okay to spend time with yourself. It may seem scary if you aren’t used to doing activities solo, but it can be equally as refreshing.
3. Invest in House Plants
If you’re stuck inside, bring nature to you. Purchase a few house plants to make the indoors seem like a more natural environment.
This may be particularly worth it if you’re isolating alone. Plants are living creatures too! It can be very therapeutic to nurture these plants and watch them flourish. They may also promote feelings of zen and relaxation - which we all need a little more of right now.
4. Livestream the Beach
It seems silly. But if you can’t actually partake in an activity, do the next best thing. That may mean live streaming your favorite nature spot.
Many places have live streams where you can sit in your living room while literally seeing where you’d much rather be. If you can’t live stream, find a recording that will bring you that much closer to nature, while not actually being outside.
This website here has some great beaches to choose from to get you started!
5. Partake in Some Lazy Cloud Watching
Find some green space (if you can and if it’s allowed). Lay back and watch the world go by (literally). If you want, you can add some calming tunes to this activity.
Cloud watching is a great way to gain perspective and to soak up some rays. This is also something the whole family might enjoy. Grab the kids and challenge each other to find animals or shapes in the clouds. It can be a ton of fun on an overcast and sunny day.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget the sunscreen here. The last thing you want is an entirely sunburned family (eek).
6. Go Star Gazing
The night offers a unique way to truly engage the senses - especially outside. Usually, we are so captivated by our visual field that we pay less attention to our other senses, like smell. We know how aromatherapy can lower stress and make us feel more relaxed - and, our olfactory sense is linked to memories - an added bonus if you want to remember simpler times while on your walk.
As you step outside into the night air, take a deep breath in. Inhale through your nose. Then, head to a convenient spot to stargaze for an hour or two. It might be just what you need to relax, bask in some happy thoughts from your past and then head back home for a good night’s rest.
7. Do a Silent Walk
If you’re one of those people who throw on your headphones each time you step out of the house, it’s time to ditch them - at least for one walk.
This is all about engaging the senses again, as well as being more mindful of your surroundings. Despite being in a city setting, a silent nature walk can help you reconnect with the natural world by taking it all in with no distractions.
Try it out. It’s similar to meditation but with walking. What have you got to lose?
Related Article: The Science-Backed Benefits of Taking a Nature Walk
8. Get Gardening
Gardening offers a way to live in the moment and become more mindful. It’s also a sure-fire way to connect with nature and really become fully immersed in it.
When you garden, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. Your plant’s life depends on it! You want to ensure each plant or flower has enough room to flourish and take root.
In a way, gardening can prove to be a metaphor for how you want to live your life. Maybe you need to get back to your roots. Or perhaps you want to start rebuilding from the ground up. Or you just need to forego the past and the future and just be present and satisfied. Whatever the case may be, gardening might prove to be just the ticket.
Find Your Nature...
...in whatever form that may be! Right now, it’s all about finding what works for you and your situation. Purchase those houseplants if you’re housebound. Get outside if and when you can. Don't feel stuck inside - there are many ways you can connect with the outdoors while still being safe.
Remember, everything is temporary. Life won’t always be like this, but for now, we’ve all got to stick with what the experts say is best. Finding ways to better yourself and improve is the right perspective to have. So… go ahead and get a little wild with a heaping dose of nature!
Read this next: The Healing Benefits of Nature Bathing