We are in midst of the indoor generation- a generation run on smart phones, Netflix, and staying inside all day. Not only does the isolation of life inside present an enormous emotional struggle to maintain one’s mental health, but too much time inside, and not nearly enough time spent outdoors, has serious effects on your physical health too. It also has a negative effect on our motivation to protect nature as it becomes out of sight out of mind.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand the ways in which we can keep our mental and physical health in shape. Vitamin N (nature) has been proven to be significantly beneficial to your health. Getting outdoors, even for a short period of time, can relieve anxiety, stress and depression, can strengthen immunity, can help you stay physically in shape, will increase the Vitamin D levels in your body, can improve your sleep, and so much more. We have compiled a list of methods you can use to foster a better relationship with nature, leading to a healthier lifestyle.

1. Eat Outside

Get your daily quota of Vitamin D by eating outside. Use the outdoors to your advantage and try a picnic in a nearby park, a reusable-sacked lunch in the office courtyard, or dinner on your outdoor deck. Reusable snack bags and food wraps can be used to store your food for your outdoor dining experience! Demain Demain and Abeego offer wonderful food carriers to accompany your snacks.

2. Make Intentional Goals to Spend Time in Nature

Plan some time in your busy schedule to get outside and connect with nature. Intentionally setting goals to spend time outside will increase the probability that you will get to experience the benefits that nature can offer. So, make it a goal to spend quality time with nature and soak it all in!

3. Start Fostering a Relationship with Nature at an Early Age

Early experiences with nature can help to create future environmental advocates and nature enthusiasts. It’s never too late for you or your child to foster a relationship with nature. Camp Kawartha offers terrific educational year-round outdoor programming to foster stewardship through every age and stage of a child’s development.

4. Drive a scenic route to work

Driving through the trees or along the river on your way to work can boost your mood and improve your relationship with nature. This simple act may lengthen your commute, but it is worth it as it will increase your time spent in nature.

5. Make outdoor dates with your friends and family

Arrange a picnic or outdoor adventure rather than sitting in a busy indoor space like a coffee shop. Outdoor adventures with friends or family will strengthen your relationships with your loved ones AND the planet! Yours Outdoors offers wonderful outdoor adventure packages in the Haliburton Highlands that you can enjoy alone or with your loved ones!

6. Grow something

Whether it’s a veggie patch or a few seeds on a windowsill, nurturing a plant is one of the best ways to feel connected to nature. Watching your plants grow and develop can help to create a positive relationship with your food and with the nature that created the plant. Indoor, hydroponic growing systems, like from Just Vertical, takes up minimal space in your home while allowing you to maintain a relationship with nature.

7. Try a new nature activity

Challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone and try something that will automatically get you to spend time outdoors. Take up paddle boarding, kayaking, snowshoeing- the world is yours to explore! Instead of buying new, try renting with Ruckify to support the circle economy.

8. Record your outdoor observations

Nature journaling is a wonderful way to record observations and keep track of your development overtime. Drawing, writing or photographing nature can help you to appreciate the details around you. Use the process to discover something new! Jot down your nature notes in an EcoJot journal, made from natural and sustainable sources.

9. Connect with animals

Connecting with animals is one of the great joys of life that can inspire you to appreciate and become engaged with nature. Animals have a natural appeal because they’re living, breathing, active forms of intelligence. Animal Experience International offers safe, ethical and authentic volunteering experiences with animals, helping to strengthen your relationship with nature.

10. Use all of your senses

Slow down and be present. Most people live their lives at such a fast pace that it becomes difficult to appreciate the subtleties of birds, plants, trees & natural settings. Focus all five of your senses on the nature surrounding you- connect yourself with the trees, grasses, insects, birds and nature around you. Here is a little sense meditation you can use to get your awareness tuned up: