(please read with dramatic voice for proper effect)
I generally avoid challenges, as I feel they are unwieldy and stressful in and of themselves and not very much conducive to change. However, after reading the description I thought: heck yeah- we TOTALLY need more nature in our lives.
What is it? All the cool kids are doing it:
Why should we do this? Well, if you like infographics this one is pretty darn nifty. Highlights from the infographic (which is scientifically sourced):
- children spend on average 6 hours per day in front of a screen and 6min a day outdoor doing physical activity.
- North Americans spend 95% of their day indoor or in a vehicle
- 8-18 yr olds spend 67% of their day connected to electronic media
- Spending time in nature increases creativity, curiosity and problem solving ability
- Communities with more greenspace have lower levels of violence
- Many studies show the following health gains for those in contact with nature:
- reduced anxiety & depression
- decreased stress
- increased energy
- increased immunity
- 50% lower risk for diabetes
- increased weight loss and fitness...
On top of that coolness, The David Suzuki Foundation is linking participants to some pretty nifty research gathered by researchers at Trent University. Fill out a 10min survey at the beginning and end and you have just helped environmental research. Go you!
So yeah, I (and you) may be a few (ahem 4) days late on the Nature Train, but I figured why not be a rebel and start fashionably late? The website still let me sign up and complete the research survey. That and thinking back until May 1st I figured I spent at least 30minutes outside every day already. Totally by happenstance... but ya know.
What I also love is the usability of the website and especially their "Daily Tips" page. Filled with fantastic easy every day nature tips.
So- a recap of my "NATURE CHALLENGE":
May 1st (Thursday): This was a bust... sadly. Please don't judge- I wasn't aware!
May 2nd (Friday): Spent time mindfully hanging clothes on the line. This has become such a meditative practice. On top of that I spent about 20 minutes just sitting and enjoying my coffee, listening to the birds and watching the squirrels on our deck.
May 3rd (Saturday): Spent about 2 hours outside exploring the yard and helping out with the dudes who came to take away our pool. Also spent about 20min hanging clothes on the line mindfully while listening to the birds.
May 4th (Sunday): Spent about an hour in the yard tidying up, examining how far along our flowers were coming and discovering the plants in our new yard. Also found Mr Groundhog which we will henceforth call "Pedro". Observed the chickadees, crows, woodpeckers and squirrel destroy my DIY suet feeder.
May the 5th (Monday): Went for a walk to get the mail with Andrew and pointed out different bird songs we heard, trees we saw and the moon rising before the sun had set.
Also- we bundled up and with hot tea went outside on the deck to stargaze. It is amazing how gorgeous the stars look out here away from city light pollution. We spent some time gazing up at the sky and chatting in hushed voices, with the peepers as our backdrop. Then we took out Andrew's Ipad's starmap (Skyview) app so we could better pick out stars, planets and the constellations. We saw: the planet Mars (which was super red!), the big dipper, two satellites and three planes (and stars and clouds and the moon). It was the best way to spend our time right before bed.
This time outside has meant that tonight especially we spent significantly less time in front of a screen. Instead of watching a movie on being on our respective computers, we chose to workout, play a game of skip-bo while we waited for the sun to set (and Andrew kicked my butt), walk and stargaze.
So- who's in???