It’s February, love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day will soon be here. But you can’t truly love anyone one else if you don’t love yourself, first. (See my post In This Month of Love—Love Yourself). Chances are you have a nature-deficit and you’re suffering for it. If you love yourself, love nature and make time to connect with nature every day.
What Time in Nature Does
Studies show that connecting with nature increases our sense of well-being. When we give ourselves the gift of time in nature, it allows us to understand our place in the world. We feel more connected.
Connecting with the natural world also helps with healing physically and emotionally. Hospital patients with views of the outside heal faster. Those who are grieving find time in natural settings soothing.
Studies suggest that connecting with nature also makes us smarter and more productive.
Yet, in our modern-day lives, American’s spend more than 90% of their time indoors with little to no fresh air. See this from Velux. Some studies show that we spend even less time in nature.
“In 1989, Ott “reinterpreted” the codes from the MCTBRP activity pattern data for 44 U.S. cities ( Robinson et al., 1972) to estimate the amount of time that people spend in-transit, outdoors, and indoors, and he concluded that employed persons in the U.S. spend only about 2% of their time outdoors, 6% of their time in transit, and 92% of their time indoors.” —nature.com. And Americans aren’t the only people who spend more time indoors. Estimated outdoor time was far less than expected in eleven other countries.
Our indoor lives mean that 15% of us suffer from some level of Seasonal Affective disorder or SAD. It also means that we are sicker.
Indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. And children’s bedrooms can be the worst polluted room in the house. Children living in a damp and moldy house have a 40% increased risk of developing asthma.
Our disconnection from nature in our daily lives, may be endangering the earth. Some researchers believe we do nothing about pollution because we disconnected. Without regular time in nature, we don’t see that nature is in danger.
So what can we do about it?
Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation affirming my connection to the earth body. Carol P. Christ
Broaden your definition of nature. If you’re in an urban setting, a plant in your apartment or a bird on your window sill can be a moment to connect with nature.
Find a few minutes every day to reconnect with nature. Take a walk, visit a park, plant a garden, or open your windows to revel in fresh air and sunshine. Visit a local waterfall, a creek, or a river.
Take a few minutes to educate yourself and/or your children on the natural flora and fauna of your area.
Write down three things to appreciate about nature every day. What would you write? Appreciate how our planet gives us water to drink, air to breathe, flowers to look at and scent the air.
Take part in arbor day, a community garden, take a vacation to a national park or national forest area.
Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived. Sidney Sheldon
To wholly believe in and love ourselves, we need that connection with nature.
So in this month of love—love nature.
Bbbbb…it’s cold out there! (grin) I have my curtains open and I’m watching the birds play in the snow. They like to be close to my window because there’s a lot of heat leaking out. It’s beautiful and so refreshing. Thanks for this excellent reminder!
You are most welcome, Lisa. Watching the birds play in the snow sounds lovely. My dogs chase the birds and the squirrels–which is fun to watch but not quite as relaxing. BTW, they never catch what they chase–it’s a game they all play.
More time in nature is one reason I’m looking forward to our move, to our acreage in the country. Here in the suburbs, it’s hard to enjoy nature when it’s zero degrees and snowing. I am pretty sure I have SAD, though this year has been much better – and I’m convinced it’s because I now work from home and can take a break to walk the dogs (when the weather is decent). Any little bit helps!
Jennette, your home in the country sounds wonderful–and warm. We have sub-zero temps every winter for a while. But I can definitely relate to taking the dogs on walks on nicer days.