Sometimes scheduling time in nature can feel a lot like exercising - it takes effort and there's never enough time. Yet there is an increasing body of scientific work that cites time in nature has similar benefits to exercise, especially around stress-reduction, heart-health, and overall wellness.
To help you find time to schedule nature we have created 5 quick tips for you to try out!
#1: Go for a walk, or a peddle
Go for a tour of your neighbourhood. Park an extra block away from your work. Walk to your friend's house. Check out the new construction that's happening in your community. It isn't quite “forest bathing,” but you’re outside and you are moving!
#2: Look around and be present
Once you are outside your front door you get exposed to the nature. Have you stopped and looked at the makings of a leaf, or focused on bird sounds in the park? Have you watched a butterfly land on a flower petal? Have you pulled your car over to breath in the scent of sweetgrass?
You need to slow down just long enough to be present. It only takes a moment. This simple practice centres us in the middle of nature and will give you piece of mind. And be sure to invite your kids to the shared moment. Chances are they aren't getting enough nature either.
#3: Keep a Family Nature Log
Now that you (and hopefully your kids) are learning to focus, why not keep track of what you have seen? Keep a rolling list in the car or on the fridge. It will serve as a gentle reminder to re-notice the ivy that's crawling up the side of the fence.
#4: Be like a river
When you set your mind (and schedule) to nature time, why not let just let it take you on a new path. Sure you'll want to be safe at all times, but there is no reason you have to walk the same trail everyday. Follow a chipmunk, or the sounds of the rushing water. You may be surprised at what you can experience when you try someplace new!
#5: Give Yourself a Break
Don't beat yourself up because you can't keep up to the Big-Mountain Jones'. You know the people down the street that take their kids on multi-day canoe trips to the Yukon? Don’t try to be them. Do the best in your world and with what you are comfortable with. We need to fit more nature time into our lives, but it needs to be done in a way that is complimentary. Try a few starter activities. Figure out which ones work for you. If something doesn’t work, let it go and try something new.