Sometimes life gets in the way and we have to go months without an excursion into the wilds. For us hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, this can make us feel like a robot in a rainstorm, ready to short-circuit. When we can’t get away we feel, on-edge, and not completely ourselves. So what can we do when we just don’t have the time to wander in the woods?
Nature in Small Doses is Still Nature
Due to outside influences we haven’t been able to go backpacking in three months! I know, horrible right? What we have done to stay sane is to get as many small doses of nature as we can. When you can’t get away, try the following:
Bike or walk to your destination.
You may live in a pretty populated place but no matter where you live, when you are outside the sky is still above you. When you aren’t out in the wilds it can be hard to notice nature so you have to pay more attention to the small details. Note the color of the sky, the breeze on your face, the birds flying around, and any sounds of nature. Try to block out the sounds of people. If you can, take less populated roads, so you aren’t distracted by car noise. It’s not the same as being immersed in the unspoiled wilderness but if you focus, it can bring the same peace to your soul.
Grab your Sleeping Bag and Spend an Hour under the Stars
I believe part of the magic of camping and backpacking is that we slow down and do nothing. We step away from our fast-paced lives and just sit, watching the stars or the fire. Even if you live in the city and can’t see stars, laying down and watching clouds in the sky will help you find that slow-paced contemplative mindset that is so restorative.
Just taking care of something growing can ground us. In winter, going out and working in the garden, even if it’s just to trim dead branches back or rearrange a rock garden border, breaks me out of my winter hibernation mode. Planting seeds inside, gives me a feeling of spring even in the dead of winter.
Build a Fire Outside
Build a small campfire in your backyard and sit down to enjoy it. Maybe eat a meal by it or relax and read a book out there. Some of our best memories camping are often relaxing by a campfire, why not do it at home too.
How will you get your dose of nature?
These are just a few ideas but there are myriad ways to have little nature getaways. We often think we have to have this big outdoor adventure but that can hold us back from planning the little things. So don’t despair, spring will be here soon, but in the meantime take five minutes to stare at the sky.