"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you"
- Frank Lloyd Wright
There is so much research to say that time spent in nature is so good for our mental health and wellbeing. I don’t know about you but I don’t need the research to convince me to spend more time in the natural world…. I can sense the benefits so powerfully in my body and mind when I connect with nature. I feel more energised, calm, refreshed and joyful. I notice my breathing deepens, my thoughts stop racing, my muscles relax and my heart fills with gratitude. But I don’t have to be on top of a mountain, walking in a beautiful forest or swimming in the oceans salty waters to receive the benefits. Although these are all gorgeous ways to bond with the environment; it can be awhile between bush walks or oceans swims when we are in our daily routines of work, family and commitments. There are so many other ways that we can bring nature into our daily lives. This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a lovely place to begin…
Enjoy a cup of herbal tea in the soft morning sun
Make yourself a fresh or dried herbal tisane from your favourite botanicals. I love chamomile, spearmint, roasted dandelion root and homemade rooibos chai. Herbal teas not only taste delicious but are therapeutic too. For example spearmint tea can gently support hormones by reducing androgens and dandelion root enhances liver and digestive health. Take your herbal tea ritual to the next level and sit in the soft morning sun and slowly sip your medicinal brew. Exposure to sunlight increases the brains release of serotonin. The hormone serotonin is important in helping us feel calm, happy and focused.
Bring nature indoors
There are so many ways we can let nature into our homes. Opening the curtains and blinds to let the sun rays shimmer through, picking wild flowers for our kitchen table, having indoor plants that add greenery and clean the air, opening windows to let fresh air through your home, collect rocks, crystals and drift wood to display on a shelf, hang a beautiful piece of art or photo of your favourite natural landscape, choose natural wood furniture from recycled and sustainable suppliers and make a little herb garden to put on your kitchen window sill.
Use Essential oils
I love to have my essential oil diffuser on all day and even whilst I’m sleeping. I choose oils based on how I want to feel or if I need support with something. I love thyme, lemon and tea tree if I have a cold, lavender and ylang ylang to help me sleep, clary sage and frankincense to help me feel aligned and grounded and peppermint when I have a headache. Essential oils are concentrated liquid extracts from plants with powerful active constituents that can help improve our health and mood. Diffusing is only one way to use these potent plant oils. I love to place a few drops in a bath or carrier massage oil, make my own natural perfumes, use them to clean my home or on a handkerchief to inhale throughout the day. The important thing to remember with essential oils is to always buy 100% pure and organically produced oils. There are lots of cheap brands on the market that aren’t safe to use and won’t have the therapeutic benefits. My favourite essential oil brand is this amazing New Zealand brand.
Plant a herb garden
This can be daunting if you don’t have much time or space but even having a few of your favourite herbs in some lovely clay pots is perfect. It does depend on your climate to what will grow well but a few herbs that I find easy to grow are mint, rosemary, nettle, basil, sage and comfrey. Using fresh herbs for teas and in meals is an easy way to bring nature into your daily life. If you have children it can be a fun project for them to water, feed and prune the herbs. It can be fun to let the herbs go to flower to attract bees and enjoy the beauty and taste of the blossoms!
Take a mindful stroll
There’s no doubt that a walk in the woods or along a rugged coastline is incredibly therapeutic but we don’t all live close to a forest or beach. Next time you go for a local walk around your neighbourhood, begin to notice the natural world around you if you already haven’t. Do you see the dandelion flowers in the sidewalk? The bees busy searching for pollen? The shape of the leaves in a tree? Or the way the clouds are floating by? Nature is all around us.
This is one of my favourite things to do with my husband. Pack a picnic filled with delicious homemade goodies and find a beautiful spot in a park, by a lake or in the countryside to enjoy each other’s company and the natural surrounding.
Gaze at the moon & stars
Whether it’s a balmy summer night or a chilly autumn evening, I highly recommend having a night off Netflix and watching the moon and the stars instead. There’s something so calming about bathing in light of the moon and the stars. The moon has a beautiful feminine energy and can help us connect with our sensuality and creativity. For some women the moon even helps to regulate their menstrual cycle. Perhaps even spend a night sleeping under the stars, it’s truly a magical experience.
Sit in a tree
When I was a young girl I would always be climbing trees! There was this one tree in my back yard that I loved to sit in and contemplate life. But as I’ve gotten older, I haven't spent as much time climbing and sitting in trees. It’s definitely something I would like to do more of. Trees are not only super important for the environment but also for our wellbeing. They help us feel grounded, regulate cortisol and add so much beauty of our communities. I love all trees but I have an extra special connection with willow, oak, gum, pine, fig, jacaranda and elm trees.
Walk barefoot on the earth
Take off your shoes. Feel the ground between your toes. Your stress will melt into the earth. Grounding may improve our immunity, reduce inflammation in the body, help us sleep and improve our mental health. Our modern lives can keep us insulated from the earth’s healing energy. Living indoors, always wearing shoes, city-life and fear of nature’s critters and bugs has meant many of us are rarely connecting our bare skin on the earth. It’s not just children that need to be playing in the dirt and running around on the grass…. We do too. It’s medicine to our body and souls.
Play in the rain
I’ll leave you with this delightful ritual. Instead of running for cover, popping up your umbrella or complaining about the grey drizzly weather… why not dance and play in the rain? Let the rain kiss you, cleanse you and refresh you. And if you have little ones, check out this blog on 50 fun ways to play in the rain!
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby”
- Langston Hughes