Before becoming a meditation teacher and Wayapa Wuurrk (earth mindfulness) practitioner I had a long and stressful corporate career that led to physical burnout. My tipping point arrived during the pandemic. It was the perfect storm of circumstances. The extremity of what we had to navigate as a collective in the pandemic’s early days and intense and unrelenting work pressure that didn’t allow me to take a step back. I was so exhausted I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and my healthy mind-set began to suffer also.
This is when I discovered the magic of connecting to nature to support my recovery and return to balance. When my doctor prescribed walking barefoot on the beach, taking lunch breaks outside and looking at trees, frankly I was dubious, but I was desperate to feel better and did everything she suggested and the shift in my wellbeing that followed was profound.
The best part about connecting to nature as a tool to support wellbeing is that we all have access to this and it costs nothing. Here are my tips to easily connect to nature every day to support wellbeing:
You don’t need a fancy app or membership to do this. Simply become curious about the world around you. Take a walk in your neighbourhood and leave your headphones out. Don’t make it an opportunity to multi-task by listening to podcasts or audio books or be distracted by music. Gaze at the sky. What shapes do you see in the clouds? The colours of the sunrise or sunset. Listen to the sounds around you. What birds or insects can you hear? Notice the little details. A spider spinning a web, new buds on tree, a line of ants marching.
Make Natural Light A Priority
For most people, we work in artificial lighting for long hours each day. Like all animals and plants, we too need natural light to survive. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with low moods and a lack of energy and poor sleep. By ensuring we’re exposed to natural light every day we support our circadian rhythm and melatonin production, supporting our chances of more nourishing sleep.
The Wisdom Of Nature
Humans can forget that we too are nature that we haven’t evolved past basic needs including rest. Cycles of rest and regeneration are everywhere in nature and the behaviour of animals is a beautiful reminder that we too need rest. Kangaroos are rarely active in the middle of the day when the sun is highest and hottest in the sky. They take time for self-care, to rest and re-emerge when they can be productive. There is great wisdom in this for us – that we too required rest and when we honour the need to do so, we show up as our best selves.
Working With The Rhythms Of Life
Tuning in to the sun and the moon and the seasons reminds that life moves in phases, that the only constant is change. Noticing the beauty that follows darkness reminds us that everything we experiences in life passes too. That there’s always hope and a new day.
Wherever we are, nature is available to us, even in the most built up areas. There is so much research about the benefits of being in green or blue spaces and how connecting to nature activates a sense of purpose and belonging in all of us.
Has this inspired you to make connecting to nature part of your self-care and wellbeing priorities? What small action can you take today to mindfully connect to the natural world? When you do, journal how you felt before vs afterward and see how much shifts for you.
About The Author
Rachael Bonetti is a meditation and breathe facilitator and Wayapa Wuurrk practitioner. She is the host of the What It Means To Be Well podcast, a show dedicated to the conversations that will expand and challenge our view of what it means to be well. She creates and delivers unique workplace wellbeing programs to support organisations create the environments and cultures that will help busy employees be high performers without burning out.
She is also an international speaker, a freelance writer and is based on Bunurong and Boon Wurrung Country on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia and works with clients locally and all over the world. Get in touch with Rachael at email@example.com or visit www.rachaelbonetti.com/wellbeing