The pandemic has had a profound impact on us all.
Like a long lost friend, nature has been there for us throughout the pandemic and for many of us, we’ve been spending time with nature like we would our friends, and in return, receiving a similar type of support and connection.
It’s as though we’ve begun to reawaken ourselves with the awe of nature in our own backyards. Slowly beginning to ‘reconnect’ or perhaps connect for the very first time with the world around us.
We’ve replaced going to the pub after work to going for a walk in the park, and in not dulling our senses with booze and distraction we’ve begun to tune back into our senses and take experience the natural highs from the natural world. When we do this more intentionally, we create space for ourselves to induce calm, creativity and reduce stress, in what is undeniably a very stressful time in our lives.
Are we experiencing an unintentional human rewilding? Either way, it’s time to start taking nature seriously.
What is human rewilding?
We typically think about the word 'rewilding' in an environmental context, to allow nature to be left to go back to its original, natural state. What happens when we begin to apply this same concept to humans?
It's not unusual to find ourselves in a constant pursuit of external ways to 'fix ourselves', seeking endlessly for solutions to outsource problems and automate life, but we ultimately forget, we instinctively already have our own answers and solutions.
Human rewilding is all about relearning our connection with the natural world and ourselves, going back to older methods and philosophies. Understanding that, whoever you are and wherever you live or work, humans have an innate desire and instinct to want to connect with nature and other living systems. Edward O. Wilson defines this as biophilia "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life".
We often do this without even realising, yet when we do, and bring more consciousness to how we integrate nature into our lives we can begin to experience positive effects on our mental and physical wellbeing and begin to thrive.
My definition of human rewilding is one I strive to apply always in my life and business.
“To consciously restore to a more natural, wild state in order to rebalance and repair, used especially with reference to the undoing of domestication and conditioning. Human rewilding is a holistic, intentional way of living.”
How can you start rewilding yourself today?
Tune in to your senses.
Get ready to sharpen the best toolkit you have. We have these 5 wonderful senses, that are our key to experiencing life's pleasures. Tuning in, is the fastest way to bring yourself to the present moment.
Next time you're in the woods, your garden, an outdoor setting….
Check in with your senses; , sound, vision, taste, touch and smell and ask yourself “what am I experiencing in this moment right now”
“What can I smell?” “What can I hear?” “how far away or nearby can I tune into this sense?” etc.
Count off your senses with your fingers one by one and check in with what’s going on around you or perhaps in the distance. Receive nature and allow it to shower down on you and soak you right through. You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, simply, receive. Stay curious and explore. Channel your inner child, touch things and go off path and have some fun!
What about when I’m not outside?
The average person spends 40*+ hours looking at a screen, indoors, and often in sterile office environments, so it's not really shocking that this starts to have an impact on your wellbeing and state of mind. No doubt you’ve seen this type of stress in zoo animals, well it's not so different for us. Your sleep quality, attention span and productivity can take the hit.
It’s not all doom and gloom, as there are lots of little things that you can do as part of your daily routine to add a little bit of wild into your life, which is especially relevant right now as we spend much of our days indoors.
Try these 5
Adjust your view - can you change your desk, b
ed or dining table to look out of a window? If the answer is no, try adding pictures of landscapes and vistas into your home, or as the screensaver background of your device.
Bring the outside in, find fallen branches, plants, driftwood, stones, feathers and use your imagination to integrate this into your home or workplace, adding biophilic elements into your space that you can draw on for inspiration throughout the day.
Open your windows and get some fresh air and ventilation in your space. Allowing the air to circulate will get the pollutant baddies and stale air out and the fresh air in. Not only that, you can tune into the sounds of the outside, from glorious birdsong to the patter of rain.
Become a plant mother. Growing a plant from seed and watching it evolve, day by day right in front of your eyes can only be described as magic!
Eat seasonally and buy local produce where possible, not only is this mo
re nutritious you are doing your bit for the planet by reducing food miles and supporting your local growers and producers!
These all may seem small tweaks, or maybe big? All of these will build up toward having a much bigger and holistic impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Go on, try it,I dare you!
What happens if we don’t reassess our connection with the natural world?
The pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to look at our relationship with nature, and for most of us this has been an incredibly positive experience. The reality of our changing planet cannot be ignored and it’s no longer ‘someone else's' problem or in someone else's county. It is our reality on our planet. Extreme weather; flooding and heat waves along with frightening and rapid decreases in over 50% of our wildlife since the 70’s is already having a dramatic and worrying effe
ct on the way that we live our lives.
Whatever you, do something, however little or small, but do something to show your appreciation for the planet that holds us, nourishes us and in doing so you choose to do the same for yourself ,the life that lives here, and for the little humans that come after us.