There are a growing number of community groups and individuals who are going a step further and doing their bit to tidy up the space around them, so that there’s an outside environment for future generations to enjoy. It’s a great concept that got us thinking about the things we could all do to gain a deeper appreciation of nature, without impacting on the environment.
Walk with a purposeMake a pledge to take a short walk every day – and make sure you grab a bag before you set off. While on your walk make it your mission to fill the bag with as much recyclable rubbish you can find. You’ll be surprised how quickly the bag will fill up and you can return home knowing that not only have you made yourself a little fitter, you have also done your bit for the environment too.
Try to find treasureIt can be too easy to focus on what’s wrong with our immediate environment, to the point that we lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us. When you’re outside, set yourself a challenge to find items of natural ‘treasure’ like feathers, bones or a four-leaf clover. It might seem a silly exercise, but what you’re actually doing is focusing on what’s around you, which promotes a mindful outlook.
Sow some seedsSometimes we can feel as though our outside space is getting smaller, as the need to house a growing population puts pressure on our green spaces. However, size doesn’t matter when it comes to nature, so if you feel you don’t have any green space to enjoy – why not create one? A mini meadow outside your back door, a few hanging baskets to attract the bees or a window box filled with flowers that butterflies love are all simple ways of bringing nature to your door when space is an issue.
Get closer to nature – literally!What better way to be more grateful for the outside environment that surrounds us than by literally getting closer to nature. What do we mean? Take off your shoes and socks to walk barefoot around the garden or in the park, roll up your trousers and walk through a stream. Just the very act of experiencing nature helps us appreciate what we have.
We're sure we don’t need to tell you about the health benefits associated with being outdoors – but if you do need convincing, this article does a really good job. Not only could you see an improvement in your short term memory, it could also help to lift any mild depression and feelings of anxiety you could be experiencing.
We also wrote this blog a while ago about the benefits that being outside can have on your mental health and productivity at work but the principles apply to your personal life too. Even when the very thought of exercise overwhelms you, the best thing you can do for your mental wellbeing is to get outside. Even just ten minutes appreciating nature – a walk around the garden, a few minutes weeding or watering the plants – can go a long way to resetting your spirits and clearing your mind.
And at a time when many of us are doing all we can to protect the environment around us for our children – and our children’s children – the very least we can do is to make the extra effort to enjoy it whenever we can!