Leaving our busy schedules to find time and reconnect with nature is more important now than ever before. Today, our lives revolve around digital connections. Whether that’s due to increased screen time for work, scrolling social media, or binge-watching TV. We are oftentimes plugged in without realizing it’s happening which can lead to overstimulation and burnout. Who can’t say they haven’t scrolled through social media only to look up and notice an hour has passed (Oh, Just me?)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our dependency on devices and internet grew. It is how we work, socialize, and learn. This increase in screen time and loss of human and nature connection is why it’s important to start incorporating ways to become one with nature. “A study at the University of Kansas found that spending more time outdoors and less time with our electronic devices can increase our problem-solving skills and improve creative abilities”. Clearly taking time to reconnect with nature is great for our minds helping to inspire and trigger new ways of thinking and creating.
In addition to helping your mind, the benefits of connecting with nature promotes positive growth in other areas of our lives. In a book written by social psychologist Erich Fromm, he proposes that “humans can cultivate a deep affinity to affiliate with all life and living systems; that through deepening our relationships and connections with nature we can foster loving attitudes and behaviors toward all life.”. Human connection with nature has benefits that surpass the mind, affecting everything from how you interact with others to how you navigate life. Without a doubt learning how to reconnect with nature is something we all need, especially now.
Now that we know the benefits, you may be wondering how we go about adding this routine to our lifestyle in a sustainable way. Specifically in a way that allows us to protect the spaces we love. Actually, it’s quite simple to do…
Firstly, you want to identify what piques your interest in activities involving nature. Maybe you want to learn how to surf or want to walk more. How you incorporate spending more time in nature is specific to your needs and desires.
1. Get Active
Working out in the park is an easy way to start incorporating ways to reconnect with nature into your routine. Start small with lunchtime walks leaving your phone at home and allowing yourself time to take in the sounds, sights, and sun. It’s great to give yourself small breaks during the day to rest your eyes from the glare of your computer screen.
2. Go Camping
Grab some of your friends (or go solo, your choice) and head out of town for a weekend of smores, card games, and nature. Not fully into roughing it the old fashion way, go the glamping route and camp in style. You can have the feel of camping with the luxury of beds with linens, electricity, and bathrooms with showers.
3. Start a Garden or Volunteer with one
Community gardens are a great and free way to learn about your local ecosystem, interact with your community, and learn a new skill. Participating in community activities like gardening are great ways to become one with nature without having to travel far from home.
4. Be Mindful of What Your Images Portray/Geotagging
According to an article in the NY Times, “conservationists are concerned that photographers who geotag their precise locations are putting fragile ecosystems and wild animals at risk”. Geotagging can lead to over tourism adding strain to natural resources. Instead, use no geotag at all or use a broader tag such as the state over a specific location.
5. Respect the places you visit
In 2019, Mount Everest made news and it was not due to someone reaching the top of the 30,000-foot summit. “A cleanup crew hauled off 24,200 pounds of waste off the mountain range during a 45-day clean-up effort”. Human actions combined with global warming have major effects on natural parks. Ensuring you properly dispose of garbage and use biodegradable items such as wipes will help a long way to conserve these spaces for others to enjoy.
6. Leave things how you found it
While exploring the outdoors, you are undoubtedly going to come across an interesting flower or insect. Leave it where it is! Snap a quick picture and put your phone away. Your goal should always be to have as little effect on the ecosystem of the area as much as possible. For example, Carving your initials into a tree is a no-no (that should go without saying). Remember these environments are someone’s home.
Incorporating ways to reconnect with nature into our busy schedules can be simple, fun, and sustainable. Try adding some of these tips into your next nature outing to become one with nature and to help protect these habitats for generations to come.