5 Ways to Reconnect with Nature
In today’s busy world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city. In fact, over two-thirds of Canadians live in urban areas, which makes it pretty easy for us to distance ourselves from the great outdoors. While most Canadians agree spending time outside is important, the Coleman Canada Outdoor 2017 Report found that 64% of Canadians surveyed spend less than two hours outside per week. With spring finally upon us, there’s no better time to buck this trend and bring nature back into our lives.
With the benefits of spending time outside ranging from reducing stress, lifting our moods, and promoting physical health, here are five easy ways to help you reconnect with nature.
Explore your local parks
You don’t have to go far to reconnect with nature, even visiting your local city park is an excellent way to get back outside. Go for a walk with your family and friends, have a picnic, or toss a frisbee around—the possibilities are endless! Most importantly, leave your phone behind so you can be fully present in the great outdoors. Breathe in that fresh air, smell the proverbial roses (maybe a dandelion or two?) and listen to the birds sing!
Join a guided hike
You can even take visiting a park one step further by joining in on a guided hike! Many larger parks, whether national or municipal, have guided hikes put on by nature organizations or community naturalist groups. These are awesome ways to learn from local experts all about the plants and wildlife that call your neighbourhood home. From investigating animal tracking to identifying edible plants, there’s no limit for all the wild things you can learn. Plus, with programs ranging from family hikes to photography walks, there’s something for everyone! Check your local listings to see what’s going on in your neighbourhood.
Find a Sit Spot
The art of sit spots has been long been practiced in Indigenous cultures since time immemorial. It is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to reconnect with nature as it allows you to form a relationship with one particular spot. To pick a sit spot, all you have to do is find somewhere close to your home so you can easily visit it on a semi-regular basis. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a quiet park bench or in the shade of your favourite backyard tree are great options.
Once you’ve picked your spot, all you have to do is be still. Watch the wind in the leaves, breathe in the smell of fresh grass, and watch the bees lazily flit between the stalks. Not only is this an incredibly calming practice, but it also allows you to witness first hand how such a spot can change over time. By carving out these moments of respite in our busy schedules, even if only for a few minutes, sit spots are a fantastic way to reflect, recharge, and reconnect.
There’s something special about taking a moment to watch the birds soar and sing their days away. To start bird-watching, you can visit a local park or install your own backyard bird feeder to bring the birds to you. These days anyone can easily become a birder—with free birding apps like Audubon and iNaturalist to help identify and record your sightings, bird-watching has never been easier to pick up!
As many species are now flying back for the summer, you’ll be surprised by all the different species hiding out in your neighbourhood. You can even make it a challenge—see how many birds you and your family can spot!
Plant a garden
There’s no better way to reconnect with nature than getting your hands dirty. Even if you don’t have a backyard to play in, you can join a community garden or start your own potted oasis on your balcony or window sill! While planning your new spread, be sure to use local wildflowers to invite birds and pollinators to your garden. Whether you plot your own personal garden or get the whole family involved, there’s nothing better than working out that green thumb!
Featured Image © Mya Van Woudenberg.