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How to be a little more 'rewild'
Learn Field Notes

How to be a little more 'rewild'

Connecting with nature has been proven to have significant health benefits. And on the reverse, the planet needs us humans to wake up and save the natural world before it's too late.

So what is Rewilding?

Are we going back to the days of hunting and gathering with homes in caves and trees? Not quite.

Rewilding humans aims to help remove our tight ‘leashes’ of the everyday grind and get back to nature. This has become even more important after a very long and ongoing period of restrictions and lockdowns that has kept us out of nature in some parts of the country. This has also brought about an awakening of how much we really appreciate the great outdoors and the true impact nature has on our wellbeing.

Rewilding is a way to help restore the ecosystems lost due to human involvement. The aim is to repair the balance between human and nature. By doing this we can become much more fulfilled and find life better and more exciting. We can realise our full human potential while protecting our natural environment and by rewilding we can remind ourselves of what to prioritise in terms of getting back to our natural state.

So what can you do to become more ‘rewild’ and enhance your connection with nature?

Here are some small steps you can do at home or out and about; with no drastic changes needed…

Try going barefoot, get those toes out!

Being barefoot not only directly connects us to nature, but also restores our electron reserve. This means spending time barefoot, or ‘earthing’, could benefit your health by increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep. It has been proven that taking 30 minutes out of your day to walk barefoot can considerably reduce stress levels. The ideal surface is a natural one, so take some time, whether it is for 5 minutes or an hour, to enjoy being outside and really feel the ground beneath your feet - even the muddy parts.

Reduce blue screen time

You've probably heard how blue light from screens can affect your sleep. This is due to the light disrupting the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle. Natural light is really important so make sure you get your daily dose! Try waking up and heading outside or cracking open your curtains when the sun rises. Get back into the pattern of following the rise and setting of the sun and not using artificial light; which is a very recent development on the timeline of human existence.

Have cold showers

A horrifying concept, no? But it's true, a cold shower or submerging yourself in a cold bath is good for you! Our ancestors had to endure the cold and exposing our bodies to cold water can benefit our mood, stress levels and our immune, cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. Wild swimming provides a great combination of being submerged in cold water, feeling connected to nature and getting in some exercise at the same time. But if you don’t have any wild swimming spots near you then get those taps running instead! This can also make a refreshing alternative to relying on caffeine as your method of waking up. Remember to ease yourself into the process by slowly dropping the temperature of the water and soon you won’t be gritting those teeth (hopefully…).

Move your body

Our ancestors moved far more than we do today, including being outdoors for longer periods of time. We can get lost while sitting in front of screens. Even when we are exercising in the gym or at a class, we are still creating a barrier between us and the great outdoors. Exercising or even just moving about outside has many benefits for our wellbeing by bringing us closer to nature and feeling more free. Try to remind yourself to take a break from sitting and stand up, do a lap of the room, garden, park… anywhere to stretch those legs and feel your body move and relax. This leads into our last point...

Increase your exposure to nature

Nature is out there, always has been, and you couldn't see all of it in a lifetime if you tried. So, why not make the most of it and reap the many benefits? Take a long walk in the woods, immerse yourself back into nature and escape from the rush of the modern world.

Slowing down, and taking time to enjoy the benefits that come from being exposed to nature is one of the easiest and most effective ways to become that little bit more rewild. Try foraging, or waking up early to listen to the dawn chorus. It’s all there, it’s all free and all helps to rediscover our curiosity of the outdoors! Treat yourself to moments of absorbing what mother nature has to offer us.

A survey, with data from Natural England, investigated our weekly contact with the natural world. They found that a two-hour “dose” of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace.

All of these simple changes can have a massive impact on our wellbeing, whether you're getting out somewhere new, or reframing the wild around you now.

Bring nature home, get a house plant

Maybe if you can’t get out and enjoy nature, why not bring it inside and plant up your life instead? There are many benefits of bringing a bit of greenery into the home which includes boosting your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity. This can then help to reduce your stress and fatigue. It also makes your space more welcoming and less sterile. It is a really easy change that can have a big impact on your living space. The question is, whether you invest in one small plant or create an entire jungle...

Explore somewhere new

Wilderness can be a balm for our busy minds.

The University of Washington found that "contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive affect, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress" (Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 7, 2019).

It also has longer lasting affects than those felt in the moment. A recent study found that children who spend more of their childhoods in nature less likely to develop psychiatric disorder later in life.

Whilst society tries to magnetise us to screens and an increasingly digital lifestyle, you might not even know what's on your doorstep - or just a hop, skip and jump away. For example, campsites hosting Tree Tent structures can now be found around Europe, USA and the United Kingdom. Alternatively, try using Google Maps or various camping websites to see what kind of nature is around the corner from you.

If you're lucky enough to own your own land, you can bring a fresh perspective to it with our structures, but if not, why not see if there's a Tree Tent somewhere near you. Our unusual structures act like secret, snug hide outs; you can live in nature itself, whilst enjoying the rustic comforts of modern life.