I’ve been researching (a.k.a. testing these methods out on myself) as well as trawling through the literature to find the best techniques that we can all use to connect with nature right now during these ‘rona times – for our health and wellbeing. Cause, #iso. And they definitely work! At the start of #isolife, I was anxious af, miserable, I felt hopeless and I just moped around all day really. After having a daily, sunrise sit spot practice and doing all these other points mentioned below, I feel so pumped for each day, I have energy to burn, I am motivated (enough to write an article about it) and I want to share my successes with you all! We’ve got this…
How can us nature lovers not only survive, but thrive, through the ‘rona lockdown? It doesn’t matter how many David Attenborough docos we watch, there’s nothing like actually being outside. We NEED nature. We need the sunlight, fresh air, the connection and the exercise. Whilst we’re staying safe and physically isolating from our humans friends, that does not mean we need to isolate from our nature friends as well. Whilst I understand we are all in different #iso situations, depending what country or state you’re in, and not everyone has easy access to a garden or patch of forest, I’ll start with the most basic things you can do if you’re on complete lockdown in an apartment, to if you’re in a semi-lockdown scenario in the ‘burbs (like me). P.S. These activities are perfect to do if you’re on you’re lonesome, with the whole family, or (depending on the rules where you’re at) with 1 friend (1.5m apart, of course).
Start a daily sit spot practice – NOW
It’s very simple. Sit or lie somewhere with a window open, or on the deck (aka. as close to outside as possible) and simply use all your senses to experience what is going on outside. If you’re allowed out for exercise, find somewhere in nature down the road or in the backyard. What can you hear, see, touch, feel and taste? Are there birds calling? How many different bird calls can you identify? Is the wind rustling in the trees? What shapes are the clouds? What temperature is it on your skin? It’s essentially a nature meditation, but you don’t have to DO anything. Just be present and aware and observe. Do this daily around the same time of the day for 10-60mins with no distractions. You can journal your experiences afterwards.
*Our friends over at Nature Philosophy run FREE 7 day Sit Spot Challenges – check them out here.
Sunshine your life
Make sure you’re getting some daily sunshine. You’ll get a Vitamin D boost, plus it’ll be good for your mental and physical health too! The best time of the day to be in the sun is the early morning. Combine it with a sunrise viewing and a cuppa and you’ve started your day off in the best way possible – a sit spot AND sunshine. Head to bed at a reasonable time each night so you still get minimum 8 hours sleep, and don’t be tempted to lay in bed all day either! Ooops, too late?!
*There’s stacks of research to back this up – such of which mentioned in this article here.
Since you’ve got lots of time on your hands, now’s a good time to critically analyse the products you buy and have in your house. Be a detective and go through your cupboards and rip everything out. Check the ingredients on the back. Is it a nasty chemical cocktail with lots of words ending in ‘paraben’ and ‘methylesjshsjalksnsnbc’? How can you switch to a more natural and environmentally friendly alternative? Go through your bathroom, kitchen and laundry cupboards and give them a good clean out while you’re there with vinegar, lemon peel and water in a spray bottle. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
*Ya know we hand make and sell natural body products online here yeah?
Notice the small things in your garden
Whether you have a sprawling outdoor garden or just a few pots on your balcony, there will be life there! Have you ever watched an ant go about its business? Or a bee? It’s time to get to know your garden intimately. What species does your garden attract? What plants are they attracted to? Do you have reptiles, birds, frogs and mammals scooting around as well? What pollinators are you attracting with flowers? Get to I.D.ing your garden-mates and learn about them. Nerd out and become a backyard ecologist.
*Download the ‘Birds of Australia’ app for your phone here.
Grow, grow, grow
If you’ve always wanted to build a vegie and herb patch, now is the perfect time! Not only will it get you outside, dirty and sweating in the sunshine, but it’ll give your days a purpose tending to your plant babies. Important! Get some soil up ya nostrils and under your fingernails. Watch the kids’ show ‘Dirt Girl’ for inspiration, yep even adults! Or one of my favourites I am not afraid to admit, ‘Gardening Australia’ on ABC!
*Here’s some tips on what to grow this Autumn/Winter in eastern Australia here. I’ve got my greens, beans, herbs and flowers in!
Eat wild and whole
Learn about all the foods (native and feral) you can eat from the wild! Do you have dandelions, dock weed, chickweed, stinging nettle and sorrel popping up on your lawn?? Learn how to process them and chuck ‘em in your next meal! They’re full of wild goodness and you don’t need to get the sprays out on them. Also, check out what native treaties you have in your area. For example, in my street I have found a lemon myrtle, bottlebrush, banksia, lilly pillies and warrigal greens – and they’re all edible in some form! Get creative and experiment in the kitchen with your wild and native flavours.
Move your body and do it barefoot
And finally, if you have the ability (and are within the law) to walk outside the confines of your home or apartment, get out… every day! Move your body in nature. Literally ground yourself and walk around in bare feet. While you’re abandoning your shoes, ladies… abandon your bras too! Find a new patch of forest or a creek you didn’t know was there. Search on google maps for any green places near your house. Discover what’s around your neighbourhood and fall in love with your local spots. If you want to combine a few points from above and get the whole wild experience, make this walk barefoot, go to an ideal sit spot location in nature, soak up the sunshine, and collect some bushfoods on the way home. And do it every single day if you can, for 1 hour… now that’s thriving.
If you want to dive deeper into these elements of nature connection and more, we run an Online Program seasonally (every 3 months) called ‘Wild Search 7 Week Transformational Journey’. Next one is starting Sept 21st. Earlybird discounts are available. Link for details and booking is here . Get Wild with Us for your Wellbeing (and sanity during ‘rona!)!