Tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition, yawnin’ and stretchin’ and tryin’ to come to life. Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin’. Out on the streets the traffic starts jumpin’ with folks like me on the job from 9 to 5.
Sound familiar? Today Dolly Parton’s lyrics seem almost prophetic as they represent a growing majority of Americans. According to a report released by the EPA, Americans spend 93% of their time indoors and children spend less than one hour per day outside! Many of us (myself included) spend most of that time in front of screens. This leads to higher instances of obesity, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Our always-on, internet-connected lifestyles are a detriment to our well-being. Here at Bob’s we specialize in the outdoors! Let’s all work to reconnect with nature in 2019.
The first step of reconnecting with nature is to disconnect from screens. While that might not be possible during work hours, looking at screens in the morning and evening has effects we’re just starting to understand. On average adults spend 11 hours per day basking in the glow of screens … and we check out phones every 10 minutes! Modern displays are really good at reproducing a wide range of colors and brilliant whites. The downside of these exceptional displays is blue light exposure. Mimicking natural daylight, exposure to blue wavelengths in the morning and evening can negatively impact our natural circadian rhythms. If you must look at screens in the evening, programs like f.lux can help by adjusting the color output of screens to better mimic the setting sun.
Next, start to reconnect with nature by bringing the outdoors inside. According to GardenResearch.com, 30% of all households bought at least one houseplant last year, and Pinterest searches for houseplants are up 90%. Once considered old-fashioned, houseplants have man a huge comeback! While I’m reluctant to admit that I’m a Millennial (the horror), we are the newest generation of gardeners, and we were responsible for 31% of houseplant purchases last year. I know my office looks like a small conservatory … and I happen to have an avocado named Andy at home. (You’ll meet him later this spring.)
When you get home after a long day at work, reconnect with nature by creating a low-maintenance outdoor oasis. There are tons of options when it comes to outdoor living spaces ranging from a small, secluded place for some meditation, to an outdoor kitchen for meals with your family. The best room of your house can be just out your backdoor.
There’s no better way to reconnect with nature than by growing your own food. Whether you have a tomato in a pot or an entire garden, foodscaping is a way to get the benefits of fresh produce. Growing your own food will not only feed the body, but the mind and soul as well. I’m currently reading “The Foodscape Revolution” by Brie Arthur. In it she shares great ideas for creating a “foodscape” that is the best of both worlds, mixing edible plants into landscapes to make the most of the open square footage that exists in common landscapes around homes.
Finally, after reconnecting with nature, reconnect with your community. Often we spend so much time connected to the internet we fail to connect to those around us. Here’s a fun thought experiment I heard about on the “No Dumb Questions” podcast. Can you name the neighbors immediately surrounding your home? What about two houses down? There’s no better way to reconnect that with some fresh, homegrown tomatoes.
Images via Pixabay. All images are licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication.