April is a special month for considering the natural world and our connection to it. Earth Day happens in April, and it may be the first month of the new year that brings enough sunshine and thawing to begin spending more time outdoors again.
In keeping with this year’s theme of contemplating life’s greater meanings, I’ve been thinking about the many gifts nature presents, and several come to mind. Forget for a moment the idea of going out to exercise, and instead, take a step outside to experience what it feels like to simply stand in a lush green area. Do you hear the sounds of birds and insects? Can you feel the warmth of the sun on your face as you turn it up to the sky with your eyes closed? Even spending a few moments outdoors brings peace.
There is joy in taking our cues from nature. Seasons do not change overnight; they transition over time. If you feel your body needs time to catch up with the mind, listen to it. Start increasing your time outdoors and in the benefits of nature by taking a 10-minute walk with a friend or reading a chapter of your book outside. Focus on how nice it is to pause and inhale fresh air rather than rushing to your next destination.
Do not be surprised if you feel compelled to spend more and more time outdoors, and don’t underestimate how doing so strengthens your mind-body connection. Mother Nature is the friend who is always happy to hear your thoughts.