Nature’s Guide to Self-Care

Nature's Guide to Self-Care

I’ve seen a lot about self-care on my blog newsfeeds lately. The horror of recent events has been a contributing factor in the emergence of calls for self-care. Climate change, environmental destruction, terrorist attacks, war, natural disasters and Trump have all played their part in wearing us down.

I’m certainly one of those people that needs to take a step back from the outside world every now and then. Increasingly, I find nature helps to restore me to my default setting, a clear head and an optimistic spirit.

It’s scientifically proven that being in nature boosts your mental well-being and increases productivity and concentration. And the exercise that often goes with it is only going to be a good thing. So here’s an approach to self-care with a difference: nature’s very own guide to self-care.

Walk in the woods

If I’m stressed, the first place I think to go is for a stroll in a local woodland (preferably ancient). Breathing in the fresh air, listening to birdsong, the brush of leaves and the murmur of gentle everyday sounds gradually allows all the stress and overthinking to melt away. Nature has the amazing power to make even the biggest problems seem small and no longer significant. In woodland there’s so much to see, thousands of leaves each unique as a snowflake, fungi subtly snaking up dead and alive trunks, and countless animal lives unfolding secretly around you. It’s the chance to escape to a whole other world.

Put a bird feeder in your garden

A recent study concluded that watching birds makes us less stressed and reduces anxiety.

One of the first things we did when we moved in was to buy a bird feeding station for the front garden. This was so we could see garden birds from the comfort of our own sofa. Now seeing the resident sparrows and starlings is always a highlight of my day. Get a bird feeder, place it preferably near a window so you watch the visiting birds. If a bird feeding station or big feeders aren’t an option get a window feeder that can be attached to the glass on your window.

Read nature writing

nature-grass-green-book
Image from Pexels

Reading nature books is the perfect alternative to getting outdoors if circumstances don’t permit. Or if you simply feel that curling up in bed with a book is the way to go when undertaking self-care. Good nature writing has the power to transport you to stunning unique locations and experience magical wildlife encounters.

Sometimes I find it easier to dip in and out of nature writing rather than facing intense story lines and bad guys in my fictional reading. When we’re dealing with bad guys in the real world it’s nice to forget they exist for a while. You can find some of my nature reading suggestions here.

Listen to bird song and nature sounds

Just listening to the sounds of nature can have the same transformationl effect as being in nature. Escape the cloying background sounds of your daily commute or settle down to birdsong at home. You can find apps to listen to nature sounds on any online app store.

Watch a nature documentary

Watching nature documentaries never fails to put me in an upbeat mood full of wonder and awe at our magnificent planet. Whilst our wildlife and our environment is seriously in trouble, it’s important to appreciate what we have. There’s still so much diversity of life out there. Whether it’s listening to David Attenborough’s soothing voice or enjoying the eccentricities of the Springwatch presenters, there’s a nature documentary out there that will suit you.

Go birdwatching

swallow
A swallow (image from Pexels)

Birdwatching forces you to slow down and live in the moment. Watching keenly for any sign of an interesting bird, grabbing your binoculars and ID book at the slightest flash of movement. From spending time sitting in bird hides I’ve seen some wonderful and rare wildlife behaviours play out.  Find a local nature reserve with a bird hide or go on a bird watching guided walk.

Visit the sea

girl-sea-beach-young-52522
Image from Pexels

I’m certain there’s nothing in this world more relaxing than spending time by the sea. The crashing waves, never-ending horizon, and contact with forces that feel like true wilderness. I can literally spend hours sitting on a rock staring out across the ocean when visiting the coast. Paddling with the soft sand beneath your feet and cool waves swilling around your legs is also so therapeutic. Braving a dip in the sea or trying body boarding in the salt waters of the UK will definitely blow the cobwebs away!

Go organic

Whilst bubble baths and scented candles are really not my thing, for many they offer the perfect way to relax. If you like to indulge in this way, why not embrace nature whilst doing so? Use organic nature-themed soaps, bath bombs and scented candles. Lush is a great place to find some luxuries and they are good for the planet too!

Help nature out

Whilst facing the enormity of the bad in the world can be a struggle, just doing your little bit can make the world of difference to you and the planet. There’s always some small way we can contribute to making our home a better place, ensuring we don’t feel quite so helpless. Going litter picking, using less plastic, eating less meat, planting wildflowers or letting your garden go a little wild are all easy ways you can make an important difference for nature and your own peace of mind.

 

I hope you have enjoyed nature’s tips on how to do self-care! What things in nature make you feel better?

30 Days Wild: Days 21-27

IMG_7303
Tufted Ducks at Rutland Water

It’s been a hectic week this one for us so fitting in wild acts around work and preparing for our holiday to Italy tomorrow has been a challenge! So this will be my last blog for 30 Days Wild in June but when I’m back from holiday in 2 weeks I’ll be sure to update you on the wildness we discover in Italy over the next 3 days.

Here’s the wild acts we did manage to squeeze in over the past week.

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Days 21-27”

30 Days Wild: Days 8-12

IMG_7238
Damselflies at Holme Fen Nature Reserve

Wow, the last 5 days have flown by and thrown up quite a variety of wildness, with us visiting new and old wild places, and seeing new and old species. Two of my biggest highlights of 30 Days Wild and a new favourite reserve have also come out of these adventures.

It’s been a busy few days so I’m a little behind with this 30 Days Wild update, so thank you for bearing with me. Here’s a few snapshots of what we have been up to!

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Days 8-12”

30 Days Wild: Days 1-4

IMG_7152
Sedge Warbler at Rutland Water Nature Reserve

30 Days Wild has officially begun! It’s been so exciting to start the challenge and get stuck into random acts of wildness everyday. I’m also thrilled in these 4 days I’ve managed to see a new species I’ve never seen before. So here’s a rundown of what we have got up to so far, with lots of photos to document our every wild step!

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Days 1-4”

30 Days Wild: Ideas for outdoor adventures

Nature Walking @EmmaBradshaw

In my last blog post I shared lots of ideas on what to do on busy weekdays or when the weather is less than appealing. But 30 Days Wild wouldn’t be complete without forays into the wild outdoors beyond our doorsteps! That’s what I love most about 30 Days Wild, that extra motivation to visit new places, see new species, and take on new adventures, however big or small. So for the days when the sun shines and we have a couple hours or more free, I’ve come up with another 20 or so ideas so we’ll never be stuck for what to do next!

Here’s 23 ideas for outdoor adventures:
Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Ideas for outdoor adventures”

30 Days Wild: Ideas for busy and rainy days

Curb @Furygodmother

30 Days Wild can be a challenge. Committing to wildness everyday in June in our cluttered schedules and often not nature friendly modern lives isn’t always easy. Which is only more reason to have a go! So I’ve come up with 20 wild acts that we can all do when the weather is being rather uninviting or when you simply haven’t got time or space to go on a wild adventure.

As you might have guessed, this year for 30 Days Wild Alex and I are getting organised! I’m plotting out 40 random acts of wildness for all occasions and situations to make sure we get the most out of this amazing month. Me and Alex are putting our favourite 30 acts on the wall chart, that the Wildlife Trust kindly provided us in the 30 Days Wild pack, so we know what we’re doing each day. But they’re flexible so we can swap them around during the month to suit our needs.

Here’s our 20 ideas for busy and rainy days:

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Ideas for busy and rainy days”