In a society that is becoming increasingly disconnected from its natural surroundings and addicted to technology – what can we gain from rewilding ourselves? We take a look at the benefits of becoming more in tune with the natural world and how you can do it no matter where you live.
We have compiled a list of ways you can bring nature closer to your everyday life. There is something in there for everyone regardless of whether you are living close to the countryside or in an urban high-rise, a born-tree hugger or a reluctant suburbanite.
What is rewilding?
In environmental terms, rewilding is the process of restoring nature by diversifying the variety of plants and animals and reintroducing native flora and fauna. Industrialisation and modern agriculture have led to many of the earth’s natural rhythms being interrupted by humans. With land cleared for farming and the introduction of non-native species playing havoc with the local eco-system, this has lead to many species becoming extinct. Protecting the wilderness and allowing nature to find it’s own cycle results in healthy biodiversity and healthy people.
1. to reverse the process of domestication.
2. to return to a more wild or self-willed state.
Let’s talk about wellness…
While rewilding the environment allows natural harmony to return outdoors, rewilding ourselves brings harmony back within. Nature is undoubtedly good for us. At the most basic level, we need clean air, water and food to survive – all of which are only possible with a healthy environment. Whether you are a sunset chaser, a stargazer or a bird watcher – the magic of the natural world has powerful and profound effects on the human spirit inspiring curiosity and awe since the dawn of time.
“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvellous” – Aristotle
Evidence for this is not only anecdotal, it’s backed up by science. Studies show that we are happier and healthier when we have access to outdoor spaces, even in as little as 15 minutes. In a COVID world, more than ever, people around the world have a deeper appreciation for the value of nature and its ability to provide much-needed tranquillity. It has also highlighted the need to ensure that everyone has access to nature – even (especially) city dwellers as a vital part of our self-care.
Our food comes from the earth and is an excellent place to start when thinking about reconnecting to nature.
Eat locally produced, seasonal food – find out what is grown in your locality and plan your meals around it. As well as deepening your understanding of what thrives in your climate, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint and trying out new recipes. It’s a win-win-win.
Try growing your own food – whether you have a garden, a balcony or a window sill, you can grow your own nutritious and fantastically fresh fruit, vegetable or herbs at home. If you are pushed for space – try regrowing your veggie scraps. Lettuce and spring onions will amaze you with their speedy growth!
Go foraging – perhaps even more exciting than growing your own food – searching for food growing in the wild. Learn what vegetation grows in the wild where you live and go in search of some.
One of the greatest ways to enjoy the outdoors is to take your fitness outside and enjoy the double benefits of exercise and time spent in the wild.
Try an outdoor sport – there are so many sports you can get involved with outdoors like surfing, paddleboarding or biking. Get sweaty and take in the scenery at the same time. You could even join a local club and connect with other like-minded outdoorsy people.
Walking/hiking – next time you take a walk in your neighbourhood, pay close attention and you will see evidence of life all around you. Whether it’s birdsong, plants in a park or garden, a butterfly landing on a flower, or even just the changing of the seasons. If you’re feeling somewhat more adventurous, why not try a hike and immerse yourself even further. From mountains to beaches to lakes – every habitat has its own unique offerings. Hiking and walking give you access to the spectacular views your locality has to offer.
Wild swimming – cool off in summer or take an invigorating cold water dip in winter. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls and oceans are all beautiful natural swimming pools guaranteed to lift your mood and boost your appreciation of nature.
Bring nature inside – houseplants are becoming increasingly popular and bringing people much joy. In addition to their calming aesthetic, plants purify the air and produce oxygen. Looking after your plants, learning the right balance of light, water and soil that makes them thrive is a daily nature lesson and a reminder of the importance of balance.
Grounding/Earthing – simply put, earthing or grounding, is walking barefoot outside. Feeling the ground beneath you against your skin is a proven technique for reducing stress.
Learn about local wildlife, flowers and trees and try to spot them when you are outside. Your local conservation or environmental groups will be a wealth of knowledge in this area. One way to get started is to learn about bees and how you can protect them. Bees play a crucial role in our eco-system – a third of the world’s food production relies on a healthy bee population.
Connecting with nature is protecting nature
It has long been evident that those with an appreciation for wildlife and nature are more likely to be protective of them. Inviting friends and family to join you on a hike or shopping for vegetables at the farmer’s market is a gentle but effective way to bring environmental issues into their consciousness – if they are enjoying nature around them and in their life, they will be open to taking little green steps to conserve it.
Image via Pexels
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