The following article comes from Kenny Peavy, Head of Curriculum and Learning at Green Camp at Green School Bali.
Why it’s Important to Connect with Nature:
Connecting with nature offers a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. It reduces stress, improves mood, enhances creativity, boosts cognitive function, and promotes overall well-being.
Spending time in natural surroundings allows you to unplug from the digital world, breathe in fresh air, and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Making a pledge to get outside and connect with nature can lead to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
Here’s how to do it…
Step 1: Reflect on Your Current Connection with Nature
Take a moment to think about how often you currently spend time in nature. Consider the positive experiences you’ve had when outdoors and the benefits you’ve gained from those moments.
Step 2: Set Clear Goals
Determine what you hope to achieve through this pledge. Are you looking to reduce stress, improve your fitness, cultivate a sense of wonder, or simply take a break from screens? Setting clear goals will help you stay motivated and measure your progress.
Step 3: Choose Activities
Decide on the outdoor activities that align with your goals and interests. It could be hiking, biking, jogging, birdwatching, picnicking, gardening, or simply sitting in a park. Select activities that you genuinely enjoy, as this will increase your commitment to the pledge.
Step 4: Create a Schedule
Allocate specific times in your weekly schedule for outdoor activities. Treat these times as appointments you cannot miss. Start with realistic goals, such as spending 30 minutes outdoors three times a week, and gradually increase as you become more comfortable.
Step 5: Identify Nearby Nature Spots
Research and identify natural spaces near your location. This could include parks, trails, beaches, lakes, or even just a tree-lined street. Having accessible options will make it easier to stick to your pledge.
Step 6: Involve Others
Share your pledge with friends, family, or colleagues. Encourage them to join you in your outdoor activities. Group outings can make the experience more enjoyable and provide a sense of accountability.
Step 7: Prepare Properly
Depending on the chosen activity, make the necessary preparations. For instance, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any equipment you might need.
Step 8: Practice Mindfulness
While outdoors, practice mindfulness by being fully present in the moment. Engage your senses – observe the colors, textures, and sounds around you. Take deep breaths and savor the natural scents.
Step 9: Unplug from Technology
Use this time to disconnect from electronic devices. Put your phone on silent or in airplane mode to resist the urge to check notifications.
Step 10: Document Your Experience
Consider keeping a journal, taking photos, or sketching during your outdoor excursions. Documenting your experiences can help you reflect on your journey and appreciate your progress.
Step 11: Reflect and Adjust
Regularly review your progress and how you’re feeling. Are you experiencing the benefits you initially sought? Adjust your goals, schedule, and activities if needed.
Step 12: Celebrate Achievements
Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Acknowledge the positive impact that spending time in nature has on your overall well-being.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can make a genuine pledge to get outside and connect with nature. Remember, this commitment is a journey that will contribute to a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.