Craving a connection with nature? Start with bringing more plants into your day! There are tons of achievable ways to get a little more nature into your life. Here are 10 worthwhile ways to make a meaningful connection with the natural world around us.
1. Start A Small Culinary Garden
Starting a garden is something you can do pretty much anywhere. Whether it’s an indoor countertop smart garden, a little container herb garden, or a full-on outdoor vegetable garden, it’s worth the effort.
You’ll be able to observe how plants change and grow. You’ll also learn about basic organic gardening. The whole process is incredible, from planting seeds to germination to growth and finally to harvest.
2. Get Some Indoor Plants
If growing a culinary garden isn’t your style, try a houseplant or two. Succulents, air plants, and ivy are all low maintenance options that also look great. Some houseplants also do a fantastic job of cleaning indoor air. I particularly like indoor citrus plants.
Many can be incorporated into living walls or other decor. Just make sure to place your indoor plant somewhere they can be appreciated on a regular basis. Take the time to notice how the plant is doing and give it what it needs. Indoor houseplants can be just as rewarding as an outdoor garden. Here are some of the easiest houseplants to get started with at home:
For care instructions, here are growing guides to three easy, fun, and reliable houseplants to help you connect with nature indoors, in the city, and during the cold winter months:
3. Move An Indoor Routine Outdoors
For something a little quicker to implement, try moving an indoor routine outdoors. It’s relatively easy to move bits of your day-to-day routine outside. Things like yoga, meditation, and reading definitely can seem more peaceful out in nature. It’s also possible to pick a nice shady spot to check your emails, pay bills online, or have a picnic at meal time.
If time outside feels refreshing (which hopefully it does), consider dreaming about and eventually creating your own meditation garden. Having a quiet, introspective space to connect with nature is worth all the digging and planting that might be required first!
4. Use Plant-Based Beauty Products And DIY’s
Replacing synthetic products with safer plant-based alternatives is a healthy way to bring more plants into your life. Before buying a beauty or personal care product, I like to research the company and the product ingredients. The Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database is a great way to do some research at home. In the store, the “Think Dirty” app is another good way to research ingredients.
If you’re put off by some of the ingredients in your favourite products, try some natural beauty products or make your own DIY products with ingredients like organic coconut oil. I use Pinterest to collect DIY beauty product recipes. Check out this Pinterest board of DIY beauty products to get some inspiration!
5. Eat More Veggies (And Fruit!)
Eating more veggies is such a simple way to get more veggies in your life! They can be substituted for meat and white flour in many meals. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I love trying veggie-substitute meals. Cauliflower rice, quinoa chocolate cake, mushroom hamburgers, and zucchini noodles are some of my favorites.
I find that I take closer notice of the food I’m eating when I get it directly from the producer. They’re directly connected to the natural environment where your food is grown. Visit your local farmer’s market or even visit a local farm! Even within the city there are more and more urban farms popping up.
Chatting with growers and observing how they grow and harvest their crops is a wonderful way to take notice of the plant-based food we rely on. I also love getting the weekly emails from local organic farms. It really keeps me in the know of which fruits and vegetables are in season in our area.
If you need some accountability to get some more veggies into your diet, consider joining a local CSA (community supported agriculture) or vegetable delivery service. These services deliver veggies to your house, typically on a weekly basis. As always, if you’ve got any extra plant scraps that can’t be used up in soups or smoothies, mix those scraps in with some leaves and make your own compost!
6. Connecting With Nature Through Crafting
Plants also make incredible natural dyes for crafts. Everything from easter eggs to fabric to noodles can be dyed with appropriate plants.
Take a walk around your garden and notice all the lovely little twigs, pinecones, and other bits of nature that can be used in crafting. You might be surprised at what you find!
7. Take A Foraging Workshop
Collecting your own food from the wild is a wonderful way to connect with nature. You’ll need professional instruction before foraging for your own wild food, but fortunately many local nature and food sustainability societies offer foraging workshops.
Do some research to see if a wild food foraging workshop is offered in your area. There may even be specific courses such as an edible mushroom identification course. If no food foraging courses are offered, try looking for a wildflower identification tour or a workshop that teaches you to collect natural crafting materials.
8. Walk In The Wilderness
Walking in the wilderness is a relaxing way to get outdoors. It’s also worth getting to know the wild plants in your area! Try a walk in the park, a hike in the woods, or even a guided walk.
As with the foraging courses above, some areas offer guided tours to provide you with some insight into local flora and fauna. Local tourist shops also carry guidebooks that can give you some background information on plants and animals of the area. If you’re really looking to relax, try forest bathing. Forest bathing is just catching on in North America as a way to reduce stress and boost your immune system. It’s worth a try!
9. Host Moving Meetings
Moving meetings are a great way to replace an indoor activity with an outdoor activity. Meetings between only a few people don’t have to happen in an office breakout room!
For your next small meeting or brainstorming session, consider scheduling a walk in a local park. Smartphones make it easy to record or jot down any ideas that really have to be recorded at the time. You’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while getting some work done. It’s really the best of both worlds!
10. Learn To ID Your Trees
Learning to identify local trees, shrubs, and other plants will help you notice and connect with nature. Start with learning the names and basic characteristics of the trees in your yard, on your street, or in your neighbourhood. Can you name all the trees in your yard or on your building’s street?
Once you know how to identify a few local plants, you’ll start to notice them all over town. As you learn more and more plants, your eyes will be drawn to the plants growing all around in your day-to-day life. Knowing what kind of plant you’re looking at is a practical and actionable way of connecting with nature. They’ve always been there, you just haven’t noticed them!
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