DAY 1 - Get to know your local early spring wild flower
I'm very interested in the impact of nature on our health in terms of relaxation and in terms of movement opportunity.
So I'm starting 7 days of nature awareness on this page, because I love nature and want to share it.
Today I'm sharing a yellow wild flower. If you live in the South of England, you may well have seen patches of them.
Pay attention to how looking at these photos (or the real thing, if possible) makes you feel.
Look at the shape of the petals, their vibrant colour. Notice the shape and colour of the leaves.
You are welcome to use an emoji or a word to describe your feeling, if you want to.
Ideally, spot them in real life - that's the movement part! Notice how you move to get a closer look. How easy is it for you?
DAY 2 - Look up at the sky multiple times a day
Today, we’re boosting our connection to nature by looking at the sky several times throughout the day
Notice the colour: light blue, dark blue, light grey, dark grey? Is it all one same colour?
Follow the contour of any clouds if any. Notice their colour and density. Admire their shape.
Pay attention to any change between morning, lunchtime, early afternoon, mid-afternoon, evening and just before bed.
How does the sky make you feel? Calm? Happy? Sad?
Ideally, be outside when you look up at the sky and notice its vastness.
If you’re indoors, pick a spot where you can see as much of the sky as possible.
Perhaps you rarely look up? If so, many muscles in your neck and eyes go unused and get stiff as a result.
As you look up, notice where your chin is: way in front of your neck? If so, slide it gently back and feel the lengthening of your neck as you breathe out.
Love combining nature connection and movement! Don’t you?
DAY 3: Get to know your neighbour (of the bird variety)
Do you know its name? Its call? Just pick one and see if you can learn a little bit about what it looks like, how it behaves or what it sounds like.
Paying attention to birds makes me look away and up from my screen - something we all need to do to use our neck and eye muscles, to keep them stay mobile and pain free.
Developing our sense of hearing is also something positive, giving our eyes a rest.
In my garden, I see and hear mostly dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, goldfinches and robins in my garden. And you?
When I'm out and about, I see and hear red kites, barn owls (early in the morning, and they're very quiet!), tawny owls (before sun rise), rooks, pigeons, wrens, buzzards and woodpeckers.
I've only become aware of all these birds in the last few years and they have really enhanced the variety of my movement and my well-being by observing them and being in the present moment, totally absorbed in watching and listening to them.
I particularly love the chirpy, cheerful ones as their good mood is contagious! The blue tit is particularly attractive (pictured by my son).
If you have never done this before, simply look out through your window and notice what bird you can spot and relate to, or on your next walk - bonus points for extra movement!
DAY 4: find something soft to touch.
It could be feeling soft catkins with your finger or soft grass with your toes. If indoors, it could be stroking a person's skin or a pet's fur.
Experience the effect of feeling something soft. Ask yourself how it makes you feel on a physical, cognitive or emotional level.
As for the movement part, it could involve lifting your arm up above your head to feel catkins, taking your shoes off and wriggling your toes to feel the grass, spreading your fingers when stroking someone's arm or your dog's tummy. Many options!
DAY 5: find something textured to touch
Feel the patterns of bark, for example - every tree will be different.
Explore its rough texture with your fingers.
You're welcome to experience natural texture with your bare feet too. There are many sensory nerve endings on the soles of our feet and they tend to be very neglected.
Both our hands and feet are underused in terms of what we expose them to - feeling mostly plastic and manmade surfaces and textures. Our skin is capable of feeling so much more. Not to mention our joints and soft tissue!
See if you can change this and give your body a different sensory experience.
Feel free to comment if you give it a go.
DAY 6: Smell a flower
Smelling flowers is great for relaxation when anxious, stressed, tired or simply busy. It encourages nasal breathing, which doesn't seem to come easily to many of us, and slows everything down.
When smelling flowers, I find that my breathing is not too deep or forceful, but gentle, gradual and calm.
You might want to close your eyes so all your attention is focused on your sense of smell.
Notice what smell your brain registers and how it makes you feel.
If it's a wood violet, you will have to go really low, which may be challenging! If you can't get that low, there are things you can do to get nearer and nearer, whatever your age. Never blame your age for your stiffness, only your lack of particular movements!
You can also decide to experience the scent of blossom at nose height - easy! That's okay, breathing is moving, especially if you can feel your ribcage expand sideways and towards your back.
Feel free to share your impressions!
DAY 7: Fall in love with nature
Early morning is the best time to tune into nature, but any time is good!
Really pay attention to what surrounds you – the sky, the ground, trees, flowers, birds, bees, colours, scents, sounds etc. and experience it all with all your senses.
Find beauty, fulfilment and serenity in what is right in front of you.
Thank you for following my 7 days of nature connection.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!