In addition to providing a much-needed boost of vitamin D, appreciating nature in active, intentional ways during the summer months can help you clear out the winter cobwebs and replenish our energy stores.
We’ve compiled a list of three healthy, fun ways to enjoy nature this summer and beyond.
Volunteer at a Community Garden
Did you know that digging in the dirt can increase happiness? In addition to giving you a good dose of fresh air and exercise, gardening exposes you to microbes that some experts believe stimulate the production of the “happiness hormone,” serotonin.
If you don’t own land or just want the healing benefits of connecting with others in your community, consider donating your time at a community garden.
Some community gardens donate the produce to local schools and homeless shelters, while others offer classes on permaculture and herbalism. Community gardening is a great way to connect with nature, your community and a great cause!
Enjoy Nature Year-Round
One of the best ways to get out of a negative headspace is to focus on caring for someone (or something) else. When we care for our indoor plants – watering, repotting, checking their roots for disease – we are connecting with nature in a way that is rewarding without being overwhelming.
Use plants to create an indoor garden you can enjoy all year, especially on those sweltering summer days that turn us into an all-you-can-eat buffet for mosquitoes. In winter, your indoor plants will provide immune system support and many other health benefits. The beautiful colors, shapes and petal patterns of plants such as orchids can give us inspiration and a sense of calm.
Go on a Foraging Expedition
Have you ever gone for a walk with the intention to simply enjoy nature, only to find yourself obsessing about something else the whole time? It’s difficult to be present when your mind feels like a whirlpool.
Unlike going for a leisurely walk, foraging for food stimulates the brain, forcing you to notice the details about each plant. You can’t daydream or obsessively stew about something negative when you are trying to spot wild lettuce or chicken-of-the-woods!
Just be sure you are 100% positive about plant identification before consuming anything as there are many poisonous look-a-likes. That’s why going with a well-reputed forager is highly recommended over using a book or even an app.
Start asking people in your local community about foragers they know and trust. Some foragers might even lead weekend group expeditions!
When you find active ways to engage with the natural world, you enjoy nature so much more. The memories you make this summer are sure to sustain you through the cold months of winter.