“Nature is your great restorer. ”Calvin Coolidge
It’s summertime. It’s time we left our homes for some outdoor activity. It’s time we got healthy, some sun on our face, and a new perspective. Let’s restore ourselves. Let’s commune with nature!
Here are six fun ways to get outside and enjoy nature.
Break a sweat.
Set the alarm to 5AM. Break out the dusty athletic shoes in your closet. Drive to a hiking or nature trail, or to the beach if you’re lucky. Enjoy it in its pristine state before the rest of the world awakens. Sit and stretch for a few moments. Find some calm and serenity; breathe in the fresh air deeply and feel your muscles relax and loosen. Slowly start your walk or run. Build it up gradually until you’ve gained some speed. Break a sweat as the sun rises. Sink into your surroundings. It’s a treat to indulge yourself and commune with nature like it’s your secret and no one else’s (because they’re still home sleeping for a few more hours). It’s amazing how good you’ll feel exercising with the sunrise; there’s no better way to start your day.
Visit a farmers market.
With all of the stone fruits coming into season, there’s no better place to shop for them than at a farmers market. Taste some new color in the fresh fruit and produce. Most farmers markets are set-up outside, and generally feature various items we don’t always see in our neighborhood big box grocery store. Find something you’ve never tried before, buy it, take it home and experiment with a new recipe. It’s all part of being one with nature and exploring!
Take your dog to a new park or trail.
Your furry friend will no doubt enjoy a little adventure by your side. Pile into the car, and drive to a new park, or a walking trail you’ve always wanted to visit or haven’t visited in a long while. Stop for a break along the way and do some people and dog watching. Sit still for a moment and take in your surroundings. Be one with nature. Watch slowly for any subtle movements—a few leaves moving with the sway of the wind, a bird pecking the dirt, a squirrel scampering. Enjoy just watching people and being outside in “natural” new surroundings.
Play in the dirt. Smell the flowers.
There is no time like the present to get outside and bring some color to your garden. Plant a new rose bush. Start an herb garden for some of those summer fresh recipes you’ve been wanting to try. Visit the nursery for a new pot and summer flowers, herbs, or succulents even. Even if you live in the city with just a small patio or balcony, some fresh plants in cute pots will do a lot to get you active for a couple of hours, and provide you with more hours of enjoyment tending to your new “natural” friends throughout the season.
Enjoy a picnic with a friend.
Catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in person for a long while by meeting at a park and enjoying a picnic. Each of you can bring different things you’ve made (or bought) to sample. Try a new cold beverage, or some wine. Play a game. Enjoy the fellowship. Being with someone, sharing some food and friendship, and communing together with nature will do wonders to brighten your spirits. (Enjoy some of these fun picnic ideas from Country Living.)
Take a long, long drive.
During the days, weeks, and months we were “in shelter,” when the walls started closing in, taking long drives would often relieve some stress and weariness for me. Sometimes, these “adventures” occurred five times a week even. I drove to the beach and took walks at 5AM. Or I drove out on the highway until there were scarcely any other cars around. Just getting in the car and driving somewhere, or even nowhere at all, was (and still is) incredibly cathartic. You can play Neil Diamond and sing “Sweet Caroline” loudly and no one will care that you can’t carry a tune. You can download a book from Audible and catch up on the book before your next book club meeting. You can just lose yourself in the scenery and your thoughts and have a brand new perspective when you return.
However you decide to commune with nature, just do it. Get outside. Enjoy yourself. You’ll immediately see the healthy, psyche side-benefits. Nature really does know how to restore.