In Your Nature

Things you can do to do better by the planet (and yourself).

It’s Earth Month, folks! Are you ready? Excited? Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of terrifying climate change data?

It’ll be okay. Yes, we’re going to be tackling some daunting topics. (Think water conservation, biodiversity, that sort of thing.) But we promise to do it in a way that will leave you feeling like a force for positive change.

Let’s start by kicking off some positive change for you. When was the last time you sunk your hands into the dirt? Shuffled through leaves on a park trail? Strolled along a shoreline instead of scrolling through your feed?

As human beings, we need nature. Being outside is good for us, plain and simple. Don’t believe it? Here’s some proof.

Nature is a Mood-Booster
Simply taking a walk through a green space has been shown to lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation markers, improve immune function and promote a more positive mental outlook, compared to spending time in man-made environments. Essentially, nature will chill you out.

Nature Is A Healer
It turns out that just looking at nature can be good for you, too. One study showed that post-operative patients who recovered in a room with a view of nature spent less time in the hospital than people who’d undergone similar surgeries but who had a view of a brick wall. Patients who had a view of trees also required fewer painkillers and had fewer post-surgical complications than those who didn’t.

Nature Lifts You Up
Need a makeover? Nature’s got your back. Spending time outside and interacting with nature has been shown to increase self-esteem and have generally positive effects on emotions and behavior.

Nature is Habit-Forming
The 30 Days Wild campaign, now in its fourth year, prompts participants to engage with the outdoors every day for 30 days. (Everything from hiking a mountain to literally stopping and smelling the roses counts.) Results from the very first year showed “benefits to happiness, health, and pro-nature behaviors” like feeding birds, growing pollinator gardens and doing conservation work.

Put Yourself Out There

There’s no time like the present. The sooner you head outdoors and start getting reconnected with nature, the sooner nature can start giving back to you.

Take A Walk
Right now. Just go outside and walk for five minutes. Come back and think about how you feel. Is your head a little clearer? Did your shoulders drop a bit? Did you notice something natural—a tree, a cloud, a bird? Think about why it caught your eye. Take another walk in a few hours and try it all again.

Start a Garden
You don’t need a yard—does your neighborhood have a community garden? Get on the list and claim a plot. Only have a windowsill? Potted plants totally count. (Bonus: If you plant veggies and herbs today, your summer salads will be incredible.)

Find Your Park
Even a sliver of green in an otherwise concrete jungle can have restorative effects for visitors. Find the parks nearest to your work and your home and commit to exploring them once a week. We bet you’ll be back for more.

Work Out Outdoors
Ditch the treadmill and lace up for a trail run. Roll your yoga mat out of the studio and into the grass. When you work out outdoors, you’re getting physically fit while soaking up all of the emotional benefits of a connection with nature. And, people who exercise outdoors tend to work out for longer, so your body will thank you twice.

Observe Your Surroundings
Plugging back in can happen in the smallest of increments—even something as simple as listening to the wind while walking to your car or appreciating a sunset on your way home from work can help rebuild your connection with the outdoors.

We’d love to hear how you’re connecting with nature in your day-to-day life. Snap a picture and share it with us using #ForceForNature (we’re @BurtBees on Instagram) and let’s keep each other accountable.

There’s lots more to come this Earth Month—follow along and pick up some new habits that can bolster your personal wellness while giving the planet a helping hand.