Here we look at ways we can apply the Five Ways to Wellbeing guidance to nature-based activities. The pandemic has allowed many of us to develop a new appreciation for nature and the environment and 'nature connectedness' is an understanding that we are part of nature. Our own relationship to nature, whether through walking, gardening or just 'being' and noticing what's around us can be a deeply personal one. Now that we are able to meet with others again, sharing in these experiences can be even more rewarding.
As the poet and nature writer Mary Oliver wrote in her Instructions for living a life...... Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it......
Connect – You don't have to go very far to seek out nature and green spaces, whether you live in the countryside or in the city nature is everywhere, seek it out where you can and try to make your connections to nature a more regular practice. If you can't go out at the moment what perspective on nature do you get from looking out of each window? You could also try bringing nature closer to you by planting herbs and flowers on your patio or windowsills which will also benefit your local pollinators :-)
Be Active – It's been proven that just 20 minutes outside in the fresh air can have lots of positive effects on your mental & physical wellbeing such as reducing stress levels and boosting your immune system. If you are able to exercise try doing it outside whether its a gentle walk, cycle ride or even a wild swim!. Many outdoor groups are gradually and safely re-opening again offering opportunities to be active in your local community. Why not get involved with a local walking or gardening group near you?
Keep Learning – Nature offers us endless opportunities to cultivate curiosity and wonder, and in doing so can give us a greater sense of belonging to the world around us. Whether you love trees or growing vegetables, set yourself a challenge and learn something new about the natural world today.
Take Notice – Find 5 minutes in your day today to pause and take in the beauty of the natural world around you. What colours do you see?, what sounds do you hear? Take a moment of stillness and calm wherever you are and find yourself there.
Give –Two questions for your day. What does nature do for you? And what can you do for nature? Even on a small scale we can make a positive impact . Why not plant some more native flowers or let the grass grow and give a patch of your lawn back to nature?. If you have some spare time why not volunteer with a local conservation group?. There are many small ways we can give back to nature.