Reconnect with nature for stress-free living

This week, we reach Imbolc – the Celtic celebration that marks the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. So, warmer, longer days are definitely on their way!

Which means it’s an ideal time to start spending more time in the fresh air and reconnecting with the beauty of nature that’s all around us.

Reconnecting with nature can be a wonderful way to reduce stress and promote a more balanced and harmonious way of living. By taking the time to truly engage with the natural world, you’ll find it can provide a profound sense of peace, balance and relaxation in our often hectic lives. It can also improve our mental and physical health.

And the great news is we only need to spend a little time in nature to realise its powerful destressing effect.

I know, for me, if I’m feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed, the first thing I do is head out to the garden. If it’s nice and warm, I’ll also go barefoot, as it helps me feel grounded and connect with the earth. I listen to the birds and take a few deep breaths of beautiful, fresh air. I immediately feel better, calmer and more in control.

Accessing the physical and mental healing powers of the great outdoors doesn’t have to be an enormous adventure either. As I’ve said, I find my own little garden a place of great calm and comfort. So, if you’ve got a space close to home where you can breathe deeply, listen to nature and spend a little time in the sunshine, make the most of it!

5 top tips to incorporate more nature into your daily life:

1. Make it a habit to spend time outdoors regularly. Whether it’s a stroll in the park, a hike through the woods or simply taking a break from your desk at lunchtime, getting outside and being in nature can have a calming and grounding effect on your mind. Be fully present and pay attention to the sights, sounds and sensations around you. This can help you become more mindful and reduce stress.

2. Meditate or journal in nature. Practice meditation outdoors, whether it’s in your own garden, by a river or under a tree. Meditating in a natural setting can deepen your connection with the natural world and reduce stress. Keep a nature journal to document your observations, thoughts, and feelings during your outdoor experiences.

3. Exercise outdoors. Engage in outdoor physical activities like yoga, tai chi or some simple stretches. By combining exercise with nature, this can have a doubly positive impact on your well-being. Another recent trend is Forest Bathing, which involves walking through the woods as part of a group or on your own. It could be facilitated by a trained leader, and the express purpose is to access nature’s healing powers.

4. Bring nature inside. Bring nature indoors by adding houseplants or creating a small indoor garden. This can provide a sense of nature even when you’re not outdoors.

5. Unplug and disconnect. We spend so much of our daily lives attached to our smartphones and other electronic devices. So, to fully immerse yourself in nature and disconnect from the stresses of the digital world, leave the distractions behind.

The therapeutic effect of nature is well documented.

Nature isn’t just a change of scenery; it’s a reset button for the body and mind.

It’s long been documented that nature has this soothing effect that helps you push pain aside, even if just for a little while. When you immerse yourself in nature, it allows you to relax, releasing tension in your muscles, which in turn leads to fewer aches and pains.

Nature also serves as a delightful distraction to any niggles or discomfort we may be feeling. Similar to many pain management techniques, distraction plays a key role. We don’t seem to experience as much pain when the mind is engaged elsewhere.

So, my advice for you as we move into spring: immerse yourself in nature, breathe deeply, listen to the birds and feel the healing powers of the great outdoors!