Getting Back to Nature

Getting back to nature: a natural remedy for life

How much time do you spend in nature? Is it something you prioritise, revel in, or take great benefit from? This past year has been such a difficult one. So many of our priorities have changed. So much of what we knew has gone, and the world has had to realign its thinking slightly. Our world is fragile, beautiful, volatile, precious, but it is also in need of our protection. So much of the talk we hear these days is about fossil fuels, renewable energy, recycling, greenhouse gases, melting ice-caps, protecting our forests…and all of these things are so real and vitally important. Yes, we should be doing our bit to save our planet.

But more than that we need to fall in love with it again and get back to nature. Why would we protect something we don’t value? Our time is precious so we must invest it in worthy causes. But how can we do that if we don’t take notice and spend time in valuable pursuits?

Time to fall in love

This is why we need to deliberately fall in love with nature again. We invest ourselves in the things we take the most pride in. Unfortunately, that often is our work, which is, of course, a necessity, but often gets put higher on the pedestal of priority than other more important things like family, health, and wellbeing. It’s time to realign our priorities. To see the numerous benefits to be found when we deliberately fall in love with and get back to nature. If we really understood what spending a little time each week amongst nature could do for us physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, we would be out there far more often. Our love and appreciation for it would skyrocket and we would establish a better understanding of why we need to protect and care for it better.

So many of the world’s needs are at a distance and we lack true understanding. But the state of our world affects us all and unless we really get back to nature, we’re going to miss our chance. Our chance to save it, to treasure it, protect it, and discover that getting back to nature is actually a natural remedy for life. Our relationship with nature is very much a transactional one. We should look after it, and in return, it gives of itself to sustain us. This relationship is out of balance today. We are so ready to take take take but are not putting in the effort of giving. Hence nature is suffering. And yet, it is still giving of itself.

getting back to nature. mental health. wellbeing.
Image by Helga Kattinger from Pixabay
Time for change

If we can learn to appreciate this selfless and ever-giving nature, we will in turn begin to look after it better. It really comes down to our attitudes and willingness to make better choices. Not just for ourselves but for our world too. And you might be surprised! Making little changes in your own life can have much bigger changes in our wider world. Real, lasting change, begins at home and then spreads like wildflowers!

Getting back to nature…how?

So how are you to begin this change, you may ask? Well that really depends on you. Everyone is different, has different demands on their time and varying priorities. And yet we can all do something, to help ourselves and in turn help nature. It’s a symbiotic relationship, but we need to even out the benefits on either side. It’s too one sided with nature losing out. We can plant trees, create a bee friendly environment in our gardens, attracts birds and bugs by creating habitats they thrive in. Why not spend more time at your local parks and reserves, putting your resources and time into their support? Try to buy less processed foods, buy less single-use plastic, try growing your own fruit and veg. Walk instead of using your car if possible, recycle as much as you can, re-use items where possible, switch off electrical items not in use.

There are so many little things you can do to make a big impact, especially if we all realised the benefits in protecting the place we live.

Outdoor paradise

John and I are relishing in our garden. It’s our first proper garden together and we are loving being able to design it how we like. But more than that we are loving having a space to sit outside and unwind. In Scotland, our weather is a little erratic at times, so when the sun shines we take advantage of it! I love to see the flowers grow, to watch the birds bathe and feed, and to rest in a place of peace and serenity.

We are trying to encourage wildlife to our little spot and are delighted by the nesting birds (if not their messy leavings!) Last year I was overjoyed by the little frogs that we discovered sheltering amongst our flowerbeds. And of course, planting bee-friendly flowers will do wonders to help our vital buzzy little friends. None of these things require too much attention, and yet the joy and satisfaction they provide us is immeasurable.

We are also fortunate to live near a pond where we can walk, relax, and enjoy the wildlife that call it home. I’m so encouraged by the green spaces that our council has protected where we live, that it’s not all about the space we can fill to meet our needs, but also to meet the needs of our wildlife.

Make it work for you

I am aware that gardening is neither possible nor enjoyable for everyone. And this is perfectly ok. Managing an outdoor space can be too much for some, or not viable for others. But we can do a little, by planting some pots or saving the trees that grow around us. Even just a patch of grass can make all the difference in our attitude towards nature. The calming nature of the colour green does wonders for our spirits and should be preserved. Creating a wildlife haven could also work for you. Putting up bird feeders and nesting boxes, or creating a bug hotel by leaving some logs at the end of your garden are all easy and low-maintenance ways of connecting with the natural world.

Too much like hard work?

This symbiotic relationship I was referring to earlier, the give and take between us and nature, has so much more to offer than just a bit of gardening. The world is one giant garden that we need to invest our time and efforts into. As I said before, we should make use of the green spaces around us. Ask our councils and state departments to invest more heavily in protecting and creating these havens for wildlife and for us.

And it’s not just about the birds and the bees.

The health benefits we gain from spending time amongst nature are immeasurable. Taking time to unwind outside has more health benefits than we truly know about. Scientists have been studying the benefits of nature in healing for decades. They know that when we are exposed to nature, healing increases exponentially faster than when we are not. When we spend as little as two hours each week amongst nature, our mental health and wellbeing are improved. Being amongst nature has a calming effect that can lower depression, anxiety, and stress. Areas, where there are more green spaces, have been found to have less crime. Additionally, cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are reduced with as little as 20 minutes in an urban green space. Air pollution, which is associated with health problems like heart disease, is lower in areas with more trees and greener environments. I could go on…

After a year of great difficulty, when we’ve realised the importance of life and how precious our time is, let’s make a conscious choice to spend more time amongst nature. Getting back to nature is easy and the natural remedy it produces to so many of life’s ailments should be incentive enough to get us out there.

Nature is so willing and ready to help us, to provide for our every need. When will we be willing to return the favour?

Do as the Japanese do

The Japanese have a unique relationship with nature. In an increasingly urbanised society, they understand the importance of balance and ensuring time is taken to appreciate the natural world. Every year they have their Cherry Blossom Festival called Hunami where they take time off work to go and view the beauty of the blossoming trees. How wonderful! Just to sit amongst the delicate blossoms and appreciate their fleeting beauty. They are so revered for this very reason. The blossom does not last, and yet is so perfect and precious. So taking the time to appreciate and relish in it, has become a way of life. In Japan, Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the Spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. The Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, signifies the welcoming of Spring and is a celebration of the beauty of nature throughout Japan.

cherry blossom trees. get back to nature. mental health. wellbeing.
Image by ChiemSeherin from Pixabay

What a wonderful way to celebrate nature. The restful time taken to appreciate it at it’s most beautiful. To spend time with loved ones and revel in the delicate majesty of fleeting blossoms. Yes please!

Take a bath!

Or, if sitting under blossoms is not your thing, why not adopt another of their traditions and take a bath. In the forest! Forest bathing is becoming more and more popular as a way of getting back to nature and restoring oneself. The Japanese have been forest bathing for many years and have seen the health benefits it produces. So what is it you may ask? Well it’s nothing to do with taking an actual bath in the forest. Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing has ancient roots in Japan and Asia and involves taking a walk amongst the trees and engaging the five senses.

When we fully appreciate the nature around us, we leave behind the worries and cares of our life for a while. The science proves that by immersing ourselves in nature, we improve our health and wellbeing. Taking in the forest atmosphere during a leisurely walk is a therapy that has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

In a world where mental health has become an ever increasing issue for so many, adopting the act of forest bathing is a simple and possible way to ease our burden. So easily we can feel overwhelmed by all that life throws our way, but but taking time out of our bust schedule we can restore our equilibrium and bring balance to our lives. Visit …. to learn more about coping with overwhelm in your life today.

If you’d like to read more about the health benefits of Forest Bathing, or to learn the ‘how’ a bit more, try this website from Forestry England.

Let’s do our bit!

Whether for selfish reasons, or because we really want to love our world and ourselves better, let’s do our bit and get back to nature. The health benefits are innumerable and our planet will thank us in ways we cannot even imagine. But we have to get back to nature and fall in love with it if we are to really understand why it’s so important to protect and appreciate it. So lets get out there and love our world better!

If you want to learn more John has some amazing teaching this week on how to avoid overwhelm that can been viewed by clicking here

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