Charlene Gisele, Holistic Health Coach, on how to make the most of nature when you only have one hour per day.
My life, love and work are all about an overall approach to holistic health which covers emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual wellbeing – from what we eat, to how we talk to ourselves, the way we move, rest and how and where we spend our time
When it comes to where I spend time – and how I recommend my coaches spend their time – getting out in nature is always top of the list; be it a walk in the park, a dip in the sea, wild lake swimming or a run in the wood, put simply, nature heals, soothes and restores.
More than just a natural high, getting out in nature can help creativity, the quality of your sleep, gives you a vitamin D boost, reduces anxiety, stress and can improve your relationships.
The current lockdown situation may limit the time we can get out and about in nature, but my mantra in life, love work and health is, ‘quality over quantity,’ so even with just one hour per day, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of nature – here are my top five ways…
1. Make it a date…
Self-care and self-love are serious commitments – because you are taking the time to show up for yourself. Why not extend that same commitment to nature by setting (and keeping!) your commitments to Mother Nature!
Set a time and place – make it a date – and be there. It can be as simple as undisturbed time in the garden through to a walk in the forest, watching a sunset or stargazing.
Connecting to source hack: It can be as simple as making time to go for a short morning walk in the garden while the kettle is on, before your morning tea.
2. Put your phone away….
To make the most of this precious time outdoors try to avoid any distraction. The idea here is to cultivate a sense of genuine Presence in the moment. So, you’ve set the date and made a commitment to connect, but the exercise is pointless unless you’re fully present when you arrive.
This means no ‘distractions’ be it a book to read, your phone to scroll through – or any other “things to do.” Challenge yourself to sit with yourself, the thoughts that come and go – observing both the patterns in the mind and the nature before you.
3. Take your shoes off!
Whenever you can walk barefoot in nature! So if you plan a little outing to the nearby park, take your shoes off when you get there! If you’ve spent any time with me then you’ll know that I like to slip out of my shoes on any occasion.
Our feet are literally our connection to Mother Earth and in taking off our shoes we are permitting that connection to source from our very roots. Be it in feeling the grass, the sand, the rocks, or the bed of the ocean floor; connect with the warmth and the abundance of all that supports you.
Connecting to our feet in this way also allows us to connect to our root Chakra – Muladhara – and in connecting to the earth we are acknowledging and trusting that she has, and will provide, everything that we need at all times.
It does get easier the more you get used to it.
4. Make it a full sensorial experience
What I mean by this is to invite all your senses and try to invite only one at a time in full presence. Humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. I invite you to awaken them all while in nature in turn and in full focus one at a time.
What do you see? Look around you, can you see the clouds slowly moving and forming in the sky? Invite your curiosity, in a child-like manner: look at the shapes, daydream a little while looking at all the different colours and shapes of nature.
What do you smell? Is there anything around you that could bring close to your nose and inhale the scent off? Perhaps a wildflower (don’t pick it! ) or perhaps even more simply the smell of the grass. How is it? Can you smell it?
What do you feel? If you have a water pond nearby, gently let your hand run in water and concentrate on the feeling, or perhaps run your hands in the grains of sand and feel it all the way up to your fingertips or feel the ground underneath your bare feet.
How does it taste? Could you perhaps bring fruit with you or a little bag of natural unprocessed nuts and once you arrive outdoors and find your little spot, have a bit of that little natural fruit/ nut and really taste the pure taste of unprocessed nature goodness. Concentrate on the taste, close your eyes.
What can you hear? Perhaps you can catch the distant sound of birds chirping, the sound of the crackling branches or leave in the wind, the sound of water droplets or simply the sound of silence…can you hear that? If you live in an otherwise over-stimulated over-digitized area of town perhaps this time outdoors is the closest you can get to “silence” ….enjoy it, with closed eyes and seat with the sound.
5. Breathe deeply when you are there
Time in nature is the ideal time to develop a conscious breathing technique. On average we take about 16 breaths per minute so about 23,040 breaths a day. But how many of these do you take consciously?
How often do you consciously breathe during the day? The benefits of adopting a conscious breathing routine within nature are diverse.
By doing so it trains you to go within and be more connected to your own body, it stimulates and enhances your senses, reduces anxiety almost instantly will contribute to better sleep, improves breathing capacity, activates your parasympathetic nervous system, supports your meditation & mindfulness practise, anchors you to the present moment, grounds you, is the first step towards conscious living.
Remember that our fears and worries are only related to either remounting the past or worrying about the future. Therefore by anchoring you in the present moment with breathwork in Nature you can feel an almost instantaneous sense of joy and contentment and become radiantly alive!