When I was going through my depression, I had a strong desire to spend a lot of time outdoors. I went on walks and especially loved strolling through woods. Sometimes I would spend hours quietly sitting at one spot, resting, napping or reading – even in the colder season with a blanket and a flask of hot tea. Nothing could beat the feeling of upliftment, being more grounded and balanced than spending time with Mother Nature. I strongly believe that nature has the gift to heal, to de-stress, help unwind, nourish and ultimately bring us back to ourselves.
If you want to deepen your precious time outdoors, here are some of my favorite tips:
Skip coffee or at least reduce to a minimum amount. This helps me to calm my busy mind and be more present
Go on your own. Or if you prefer someone´s presence, consciously decide to remain silent for the time of this exploration.
Allow yourself some time to arrive wherever you are (park, woods, forest, field) and take a few deep breaths into the nose and out of the mouth. Allow yourself to arrive completely.
Start walking. Notice and observe your speed. Gradually pace down a bit more. Stop every few minutes to take a conscious breath. With every outbreath let all thoughts just fall to the ground like leaves from the tree.
Become aware of walking: how does your body move, how does your body feel today? Get curious for a moment….
When you stop for your conscious breathing, take a moment to look around you. What do you see, what do you notice? Let your gaze rest on a flower, a tree or anything that grabs your attention. Just observe and take your time.
Keep walking and stopping and breathing and looking and walking…. until you feel very present.
Maybe you want to leave the main path and make your way more into the woods, into a field or deeper into the forest. Just go wherever you feel drawn to. Continue the practice.
Now that you are out of sight of others, do you feel like taking off your shoes and walk for a while barefoot? Notice how your attention is instantly drawn to the sensation of your feet. Notice how this little walk wakes you up.
Find a spot where you can sit down. At the bottom of a tree, in the middle of a meadow or next to a river… Feel your feet on the ground and become even more quiet. Notice the sounds around you. Notice the smell and just enjoy sitting there.
If the weather permits (and you are courageous) take off one layer of cloths (or as much as you like). Feel the air, feel the breeze, feel the sun on your skin.
Lay down on the leaves, the grass, or the moss and stretch your arms and feel your hands connecting to the earth. Look around you or close your eyes. Either way, take in all sensations.
Whenever you are ready, slowly get up and return. Remain focused and notice the difference.