Rather than making resolutions, some people dedicate the new year to a well-chosen word to be infused into each day of the next twelve months. The goal is to focus on a word that would improve all areas of life. My word for the upcoming year, perhaps not surprisingly, is nature.
Most of us could benefit from more nature in our lives. The term “nature deficit disorder” was coined by Richard Louv in his book, Last Child in the Woods. Although not a formal diagnosis, it describes the physiological, physical and cognitive costs of human alienation from nature. Research continues to support the positive impact nature has upon our mental and physical health.
Here are ten ways to start 2019 with a closer connection to nature ~
- Get outside. Drink your morning coffee on the porch. Leave the closest parking space for someone who really needs it. Go for daily walks or take up an outdoor sport.
- Bring nature indoors. Keep fresh flowers on your desk. Set a pinecone or feather on the mantle. Open the curtains and crack a window for some fresh air and the sweet sounds of nature.
- Learn about nature. Do a little research about your natural environment. What kind of bird is that? Is the moon waxing or waning? What species of trees grow in your yard or neighborhood?
- Protect nature. Recycling is important, but reducing and reusing is even better. Be aware of little choices. Order ice cream in a cone, and you’ve eliminated one paper bowl and a plastic spoon.
- Feed the birds. Discover the fun of attracting birds by providing fresh water and feeding them. You and your feathered friends will be glad you did. Read my post The Joy of Feeding the Birds at https://thesimpleswan.wordpress.com/2018/11/25.
- Take an outdoor field trip. Especially during winter, a day trip to the zoo, botanical garden, or state park can feel like a rejuvenating mini-vacation for the mind, body and soul.
- Read a nature-themed book. A few old favorites include A Gift from the Sea, A Sand County Almanac, The Secret Garden, Walden and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. On sunny winter days, I like to drive to a pretty spot and read in my car.
- Use natural products. Toxic ingredients lurk in most household cleaning and personal care products. Try cleaning with pure, inexpensive products like vinegar and baking soda. To learn about clean and safe skin care and makeup, visit my gorgeous friend’s website at http://www.beautycounter.com/natalieschultz.
- Grow something. A beautiful orchid or paper white narcissus will fill your home with cheer. Tend a few potted herbs placed near a sun-filled window. Start planning your backyard garden and dream of spring blossoms and summer harvest.
- Eat plant-based foods. A sure way to feel more connected to nature is eating foods in their natural state, straight from the ground with no packaging or preservatives. If you stumble upon a doughnut tree, please let me know.