Typically when we think Nature, our minds may go to Countryside, bush land, seascapes, forests and other scenery. But in reality Nature is all around us. Something has happened over time ... we have established such busy lives that we are forgetting to notice it's everywhere all of the time. Connecting to Nature doesn't have to be a grand gesture of weekend hikes, or bush retreats, it can be as simple sitting outside in your own garden. Sitting and noticing the little things, small creatures crawling on blades of grass, the sound of a bird chirping or the smell in the air just after it rains.
Spending time outdoors in natural light not only increases your mood, but also boots creativity and your self esteem, and that's just scratching the surface. There is so much that we know about the benefits of spending time outside, but why do we still not make it a priority?
Simply put, we're busy. The 'to do' list is longer than it has ever been. The demands of modern life are growing and continues to add additional stress to the average family. But the importance of spending time in nature is far more important than the here and now and the benefits it has on our own health and well being. We need to carve it our for our children ... we need to redirect their play to the outdoors, we need to encourage spending time in fresh air regardless of the weather (within reason). Teaching children to enjoy the outdoors and respect nature is one of the most incredible things that we can do as a parent. Not only does it set them up for a life that will encourage them to continue to enjoy time in the great outdoors, but it will also encourage a sense of responsibility to respect and protect it. This generation will continue to fight to save the environment and go forward to encourage their children to do the same.
Over the last two weeks I have made it a real priority to spend some time outside everyday, inspired by the amazing Brooke McAlary and her podcast 'Slow Your Home'. Brooke and her husband Ben have been completing a month long experiment on spending time in the Great Outdoors. As predicted their time outdoors, along with mine proved to have many positive effects on their life.
The ways in which I successfully built in 'outside time' into my daily routine; was to sit and drink my daily coffee and my Lunch on a picnic blanket in my yard. Sometimes my girls joined me, other times I sat on my own and just enjoyed some quiet time. I also exercised outside everyday, and finished with some mindfulness practice. As part of my relaxation to finish my exercise session was to take off my shoes and place my bare feet on the grass.
Yes ... barefoot outside!! I know it may seem crazy given the memories we no doubt all have of our mothers screaming at us to 'put our shoes on'! But the betterment of going barefoot in nature is pretty mind blowing. Being barefoot has a "grounding" effect on our bodies, and amazingly it's effect is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we know of. Simply standing and walking barefoot on a patch of grass has shown to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve sleep and overall enhance general well being. It also assists in calming the Sympathetic Nervous system and helps to rid the body of the constant stream of electromagnetic fields and other types of radiation that flows through us, from mobile phones, computers and wifi. (ref: Dr. Joseph Mercola via Fitness Peak)
Now, before you tell me it's too cold to go outside today ... because it is certainly a little fresh here in Victoria today. Rug up and get outside anyway, because believe it or not, even on cold and cloudy days the benefits are still evident! A hat, gloves and a warm coat are a must, the ability to be warm and comfortable outside will hugely help your motivation to commit to daily routine of spending time outside. (Remember to be safe and sensible, and use your own judgement on a daily basis, to assess the weather and make an informed decision)
Well, what are you waiting for, kick off those shoes and head outside! Have fun!
Thanks for reading and bye for now!