This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Imagine being a horse for a second. You’re standing in your horsebox all day. You can look outside but you’re only allowed to run out there for about an hour a day. Your box has only artificial lighting. Most of the time you’re just standing there, staring at a spot on the wall, not moving at all.
Anyone who’s taken care of horses, or just has a bit of empathy, will see how terrible such a scenario would be for a horse. A horse is meant to be outside. Ideally night and day. It should be running for about 20 kilometers a day to remain in good health. It should be feeling the soft ground of the forest under its hooves and the wind on its skin.
Sounds logical, right?
Then let me ask you: Why does it seem completely normal that we as humans spend so much time sitting at home in front of a computer all day?
We’ve lost our sense of connection with nature so much that we don’t even realize that we’re not living in line with how our species is designed to thrive. And yet, we’re in fact not even separate from nature. We ARE nature.
Catherine who sparked the idea for this blog post shared a beautiful quote from Alan Watts:
“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves’, the universe ‘peoples’. Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
How many hours a day do you spend in nature?
How do you feel at the end of the day when you haven’t been outside at all?
I’m pretty sure that humans need nature to stay mentally and physically fit. In the book “Lost Connection” by Johann Hari (which I wholeheartedly recommend) the author calls out our lack of connection to nature as one of the possible causes of depression.
On some days I’m really extra grateful that we have our dog Stormy. No matter how stressful my day is and how many to-dos pile up on my desk: the dog needs to go outside either way. And so at least three times a day, I’m forced to take a little break to go outside.
And I’ve noticed that when I spend a few consecutive days outside – as we did during our Adventure in Avdimou – I start to feel much calmer and almost like a different person altogether. Nature grounds us, brings us back to ourselves, and therefore, also to our inner child.
That’s why I want to gift you a few ideas on how you can integrate a little more nature into your daily life:
Go for an hour-long walk every day. Is there an animal rescue shelter in your area? Both staff and dogs will be equally happy when people take their pups out on a walk on the regular. The benefit: you really have to get outside – hail or shine.
Go watch the sunrise or the sunset. Ideally, find at a tranquil place where you can just sit in silence by yourself.
Leave your phone at home. Even if you could listen to a podcast or meditate with soothing music while you’re out there – do yourself a favor and leave your smartphone at home as often as you can. Distract yourself as little as possible from nature and yourself.
Even during the hours you spend on your computer, you can tune into Mother Earth by listening to some audios recorded in nature. There are studies that suggest that this might be enough to trigger some relaxation in your brain. Check out these sounds that Jonna Jinton from Sweden managed to capture from growing ice. And no, these recordings should still never replace spending actual time in nature.
Make an effort to plan holidays in nature. Sure, all-inclusive in a 5-star hotel is nice. But it won’t really bring you closer to nature. Plan at least one holiday per year where you will be spending most of your time outside. Years ago, Timo and I spent our honeymoon on a campsite in Sweden. Waking up in nature in the morning is like pushing a reset button for inner balance – guaranteed.
Take part in group activities. Is there a yoga class on the beach nearby, group hikes, or running groups? Those kinds of things are great because they offer you some accountability and you won’t keep procrastinating getting outside and making excuses that you have to work.
Go for a picknick. Pack yummy food and find a spot in a park or even in your own garden. Eating outside is nearly as good as waking up outside.
Hug a tree and walk barefoot if you can. Experience nature with all of your senses. What is the tree bark’s texture like? How does the grass smell? Can you hear the bees buzzing?
I want to encourage you to imagine being a horse more often. Would you spend as much time inside without any movement? Wouldn’t you spend at least a couple of hours out in nature every day?
Be like a horse, as much as you can.
My readers and I would love to know: What other ideas can you think of how we can bring more nature into our daily life? Let us know in the comments.