Dear Mother Nature,

I have been inside for days now, maybe weeks, time is unclear because everything just blends together. The only light I get is artificial with the occasional sunbeam streaming through the closed windows. Just living the “hamster wheel of life” over here. Doing work from home, making meals, and binge watching TV. I feel like I am living the same day again and again and again. Wake up. Shower. Make breakfast. Sit at the computer. Start working. Zoom calls. Learning new technology. Computers. Lunch time. Back to work. Zoom calls. Learning new technology. Computers. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. My alarm clock rings and I do it all over again.

I have little to no energy most days and usually don’t want to talk to anyone. I feel like I am just going through the motions that I “have to” with very little purpose. There is no joy, no excitement, and I am usually bored. I miss seeing people in the flesh, I miss creativity, and I feel sad, lazy, and numb. Dear Mother Nature, please help!

Sincerely,

Sad, Lazy, and Numb

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Dear Sad, Lazy, and Numb,

I hear you, I see you and I understand what you are feeling! You are not alone and we are all going through something we have never experienced before. I honour your feelings and I believe I have something that will help! 

Did you know that many people feel this way when they are disconnected from nature and the outdoors? Did you know that author Richard Louv coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ to speak about this very thing in children? And when people do connect to “green areas” they feel less stressed, more happy, and even connect better with other people after experiencing nature?

Nature Deficit Disorder, Last Child in the Woods

“Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv

According to Richard Louv, “Nature Deficit Disorder” is the idea that “alienation from nature” contributes to physical, mental, behavioural, and emotional problems. He speaks specifically about children and how much more screen time they have now but isn’t that true of all of us? The term is not a medical diagnosis but an idea that we feel better when we connect to the natural world. Some of you may be thinking, “Nature couldn’t do that for me”, and I’m here to tell you there is an easy and FREE way to test the idea for yourself, to see if it works! 

"green area"

Find “green areas” near you

So, I am prescribing at least 20 minutes of “green time” in your day, and in your children’s day to test this idea. This does not include watching Planet Earth on Netflix or walking in your “concrete” neighbourhood, those will definitely NOT have the same effect. You cannot truly know nature through screens or windows. You can start small and do 20 minutes for at least one day a week and monitor how you feel. Treat it like an experiment! 

  • Do I feel better or worse after my walk in nature? 
  • Do I have more energy or less?
  • Do I get more work done on days I go to my “green area”?
Nature in winter, Canada

Nature can still be enjoyed in winter!

 

If you do not notice a difference, then nothing has been lost and you can make a choice whether to continue or not. If you DO notice changes, even slightly, stick with it and increase your connection to nature up to at least 5 days a week. This will create a healthy habit that makes you happy and less stressed! Immerse yourself with plants and trees, walk amongst them. I know you live in Canada and it might not be “green” there in the winter but you will still get a great effect walking through the parks and trails that don’t have “green”!

 

 

I have four final tips to plan for a great walk and immersion into your “green space” no matter the time of year or type of weather outside:

  1. Be sure to dress for the weather! If it is snowing wear a winter coat.winter photography, student photography If it is raining, bring an umbrella, no excuses about it being too cold or wet!
  2. Bring someone from your household with you to make it more fun and for a chance to connect with them and find out how they are doing!
  3. Bring your camera! There are many different plants, trees, and animals to see AND everything looks different in different seasons, so capture some great shots while you are out. If you are also someone who avoids the outdoors on rainy days, just look at what you could capture if you venture out!                                                                                raindrop, nature photography in the rain Rain on leaves, student photography
  4. Finally, pick a fun activity to do while you are out. Check out our Winter Activities Blog for great ideas!

We have been facing a lot of isolation lately but don’t isolate yourself from something that is free, ready to receive you, and maybe help you feel better!! I am here for you anytime you need and I am worth connecting to.

From,

Mother Nature (aka Caitlin Pace)

***Comment below with your letter or questions to “Dear Mother Nature” and she will share her tips.

 

a tree from below, new perspectives in photography blue heron amongst the trees dandelion seeds, puffballs student photography, purple flower

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