10 simple ways to connect with nature everyday

There are some very simple things you can do each day to help connect yourself within nature. It doesn’t matter if you are at home, at work or on a weekend adventure in a national park, all of the following ideas you can do in under 1 minute anywhere.  You can do these simple connection activities anywhere outdoors or where you can see the outdoors. You can use them at work as a mental break to refresh yourself before returning to a task or use them with your family to develop connection to nature and each other at home. These simple activities are suggested as ways to activate your senses, become aware of your surroundings and calm your mind.

1. Hello Greeting

On your way out the door in the morning listen for a bird call and whistle back the first one that you hear. This could become a routine for whenever you walk out of a building into the outdoors.

2. Look at the Clouds

During the day remember to look up. Are there clouds in the sky? Are they the same form? Look for patterns and shapes. Feel how high they are and let yourself feel the expansive space around you.

3. The Earth under your Feet

Feel the pressure of the earth under your feet. Imagine your breath flowing up from the earth, into your feet and through your body then out of your feet back into the earth. You can even try this one with your shoes off!

4. Insect Tracking

Find a small insect and watch it crawl or fly around. Track its movements with your eyes without moving your head. Watch it move from one place to another until it leaves your peripheral vision. If it comes close let it crawl on you if you feel safe. This activity encourages stillness in the body as well as exercising our eye muscles.

5. Ordinal Directions

Look around to find the sun (although do not look directly at it) and use your eyes to track where it came from down to the East. What can you see in the East? Now track back through the sky towards the West where you predict the sun will set. What can you see in the West? Find North between East and West and then South. What can you see? Use your phone to check if you got the directions right.

6. Listen to the birds

Listen to the bird sounds around you. Try and match the sound of birds you hear with the birds you can see close to you. Close your eyes and listen for the birds that are far away in the distance. Which directions are the bird sounds coming from?

7. Catch movement

Take a break from work or being indoors and look out the window. What is the first thing you see that moves? Look further out and find something moving behind the first object and then look beyond that to the next thing you see moving. Keep looking further and further away to catch movement. Changing our field of vision helps stretch our eye muscles which are more often in a shorter focal range.

8. Feel the Sun on your Back

Take a rejuvenating break outdoors to feel the sun warm your back. Take time to breathe and notice the scents around you. Feel a warm cup of tea or coffee in your hands. Find something nearby in nature to touch and discover or enjoy its texture. We often rely on our sense of sight so allow yourself to use your sense of smell and touch too.

9. Guess the Time

Look at where the sun is and guess the time of day. Check your watch or phone to see how close you were. Remember the sun changes its angle in the sky as we move through the seasons of the year. Predicting time using the sun regularly helps us to develop a natural awareness of time.

10. Wind Direction

Watch the trees to see if you can tell from the movement of the branches which way the wind is blowing and its speed. Step outside and feel the wind on your cheeks, moisten your finger to hold it up and check again. Predict what the movement of the wind and trees will be like at your home, place of work or favourite place to recreate.

Creating simple daily practices can help you feel more in tune with nature and bring its healing power into your life. You may like to select a few tasks to do at a certain time in the day, during a particular activity or between tasks in order to develop a natural habit and way of being. The more nature connection routines you can include in your day, the more aware and connected you can become.

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Written by Educated by Nature for Spring into Parks, a WA Parks Foundation initiative supported by Chevron.