When you live in a big city it can be easy to forget how important it is to spend time in nature.
Trust me, I get it – between rushing back and forth to work, trying to be responsible and cook your own meals, and other “adult” activities, spending time in the great outdoors is oftentimes the last thing on your mind.
It’s important to note, however, that it really shouldn’t be. Just as it is important to sleep, eat right, and take care of your body and mind, it is also crucial that you spend some time completely unplugged from the modern world and enjoy nature.
There are plenty of studies to prove this — like studies that show how being in nature improves creativity and problem-solving skills, camping can treat insomnia, interacting with nature alleviates depression, and other studies which show that being in nature lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, improves vision, and much more.
But how exactly do you find and get into nature when you are seemingly so far away from it? Here are the steps you can take.
1. Head To The Internet
I get it, it’s really ironic to suggest using the internet when this article is about unplugging and enjoying nature. However, most major cities have some sort of directory that can guide you to wonderful open parks and sanctuaries.
You can tweak the settings if need be in order to find some great options that are close to you, available via public transportation, or a short drive away.
The point is, don’t be afraid to do a little Googling in order to find a great place to enjoy the great outdoors!
Suggested Google Searches:
- Nature near me
- Hiking trails near me
- Local parks near me
- State parks near me
There are also plenty of cool websites which list hiking trails by region. Check out these websites:
2. Ask Locals
Oftentimes, there are many situations where the best natural spots in cities aren’t broadcasted on the world wide web. Because of this, it is crucial to ask around and see what parks people recommend.
Additionally, there may be secretive spots in major parks and sanctuaries that may be hard to get to but can truly allow you to feel like you are cut off from the hectic world of the city.
Locals usually have some great ideas and know the best spots for you to enjoy nature. So ask your friends. Or, head to local forums to ask for advice.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Explore
One of my favorite things about enjoying nature is the feeling of exploration that I get to experience.
Many people simply ignore this when they find themselves in a big city, but trust me when I say that it is important to explore and not be afraid of getting lost in the wonders of city parks and sanctuaries.
Next time you see some nature while out in the city, get out there and walk around. You may find an awesome new place for you to unplug and enjoy nature.
Tip: It helps to have a bike when exploring these areas. Then you can cover further distance and get to the “unexplored” and lesser-known areas more quickly.
4. Schedule Time To Enjoy Nature
I’ve found that in my busy, modern life, it is easy for me to fill up my schedule with activities. I always tell myself I’ll go to the park this weekend, but the weekend rolls around and things always get incredibly busy. I blink a few times and it’s Monday morning again!
It may not be romantic or whimsical, but I find the best to ensure that I’ll enjoy nature is to schedule time for me to get into the great outdoors.
A hike outside the city with some friends is a great way to spend the afternoon, or you could even just bring a book and sit in the park for an hour or two.
The important thing I have found is to actually schedule this in my calendar. I highly recommend you do this as well.
5. Join An Outdoors Group
In my opinion, one of the best ways to enjoy nature is to do exciting activities with other people. One site that I really love is MeetUp.com, which is a free group organizer.
If you live in a city in the US, chances are there are a ton of awesome Meet Up groups that love spending time in the great outdoors. In Boston, where I live, there are countless groups for hiking, camping, biking, power walking, dog meetups, and more.
If you can dream it, chances are you can find a group that does it. And even if it is not there, it is incredibly easy to start a new group and find like-minded people.
In most cases, these groups are completely free to join, so definitely take advantage of this awesome service.
One quick and easy way to enjoy nature of all sizes is to meditate. Sit down in your local park whenever you have a few minutes, and just breathe.
Focus on your breathing as it goes in and out, on the sun shining down on your face, and allow yourself to feel your body and your connection to the world.
It’s been talked about a million times, but meditation has innumerable health benefits and can truly help ground you and let you enjoy the sanctity of nature when living in a city.
6. Consider Volunteering
If you are passionate about the great outdoors, consider volunteering your time to a local organization. Many local conservatories need guides, people to help pick up trash, and more.
You can also consider volunteering for youth organizations that spend time in the great outdoors such as the girl scouts or boy scouts.
This is an amazing way to give back to the community, help the natural world, and enrich your life.
7. Turn Off Your Phone (Please!)
This suggestion is really personal for me. I work in front of a screen all day in a high-pressure job, so it is extremely easy for me to spend hours on end staring at data or responding to the flood of emails that seem to never spot.
However, I am begging you to turn off your phone for a bit when you are in the great outdoors. The world is not going to end, and I promise all of the hectic things you have to take care off in the city will still be there when you leave.
But it is crucial for all of us to unplug once in a while and return to where we come from – the earth. Breathe in the fresh air. Rub your hands across the bark of a tree, and pet any dogs that you come into contact with.
It will give your brain a chance to reset, your mood will improve, and believe it or not, you will be more productive when you do return to work and your day to day life because you have spent some time nurturing your body and your soul.
About the author: Mountain Mike writes for All-terrainoutdoors.com, a website dedicated to finding the highest-quality duck calls made from natural, sustainable materials.