1. Make time
Besides allergies, probably the most common reason for not being outdoors more is “not having enough time”. In our busy lives, juggling work and family responsibilities may present challenges to spending quality time in nature. Do you feel sometimes that the days just slip away? Do you find yourself having spent the whole day indoors? Plan to make time to be in nature on a more regular basis (for a certain amount of time each day or each week), and then make a conscious effort to stick to it. Whether it is a hike, a short trail walk, a bike ride, watching the sunset at the beach, or sitting on the grass in your backyard, find the time and your own way to enjoy being in the presence of Mother Nature and all she has to offer.

2. Bond with family and friends outdoors
What better way to grow closer to a family member, a friend or potential friend, than to leave behind the demands and pressures of everyday life, and spend a day together in nature? Plan a picnic, a hike, a birthday party, or a play day outdoors. Or simply go for a walk together on the beach or in a park.

3. Stop and smell the flowers
Literally. Whether at a Farmers Market or in your garden, take the time to stop and smell the flowers. As research shows, smells can impact our emotions, concentration, dreams, memory, love life, as well as our physical and mental health.* While a whiff of lavender is believed to calm the nerves, the scent of roses may enhance our mood and lower blood pressure. The aroma of rosemary is known to refresh the memory, and a hint of eucalyptus could clear the head and improve alertness.


4. Take care of a garden
Attending to the plants, herbs, and vegetables in your garden is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors. Starting a vegetable garden at home is not as difficult as you may think, and in the long run, you can save a lot by growing your own produce (not to mention having fresh, healthy veggies and herbs at your fingertips any time you need them). In addition to being outside, taking care of a garden is proven to reduce anxiety.


5. Grab your Camera
Nature photography has always been one of my favorite things to do. It is not only an excellent creative outlet, but it also is a wonderful way to spend time outside. Whether snapping a few shots of the sunset on the beach, or venturing into the wild with your camera, be inspired by nature’s beauty and click away!

6. Reduce exposure to electronics
We all rely on technology for work, for entertainment, and communication, but we tend to spend more time ensconced indoors with our gadgets than out in the fresh air. Studies show that long exposure to technology could affect brain development in children and disturb our sleep patterns, our mood, and overall health.** Try to limit your access to texting, social media, computers, and TV for part of the day. Choose a time each day to eliminate your exposure to electronic devices and go for a walk instead.

7. Plan a “tech-fast”
Take a break from all electronic communications. Commit to a day (or a few) away from digital life. Go camping, rent a cabin, or just spend the day in nature without your laptop, Smartphone, and iPad. For emergencies, you could take a cell phone but turn it off. It will be much easier to enjoy the great outdoors without the constant beeps and tweets.

8. Go explore
Even in town or just a short drive away, you can find natural, untouched spaces worth discovering. An uninhabited field, the edge of a forest, or even a small ravine at the end of the street can be teeming with wildlife and offer much fun to explore.

9. Green exercise
Gyms may be very efficient places where you can carry out your daily exercise, but if you want to get more out of your workout, take it outdoors! Research shows that exercising in the presence of nature leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes. *** Instead of the high-tech gym equipment, try yoga on the beach, or jogging/walking on the grass.

10. If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…
If you simply can’t find the time or are unable to go outdoors, bring in the outdoors with plants and live arrangements. Terrariums, for examples, offer a beautiful and low-maintenance way of bringing a touch of nature indoors. If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Or is it the other way around?

4 Minutes a Day, Rock ‘n Roll Your Way to Happy by Shemane Nugent
SEVEN WAYS TO OPT OUTSIDE ALL YEAR LONG: By Shutting Down on Black Friday, Retailer REI Challenges the Rest of Us to Connect to Nature, Family and Friends by Richard Louv


* www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/mind/how-smell-affects-your-body-and-mind#sthash.A5Gb6i5N.dpuf

10 Simple Things You Can Do to (Re)connect with Nature