Connecting with the Earth – Technology Balance
By Aksia Funmaker
Connecting with nature is a simple and effective way to feel grounded and present in our lives and with who we are, helping us relieve stress. Whenever I am feeling down, or overwhelmed, I love laying in the grass under the sun, playing with my chocolate brown dachshund Charlie, and taking him for walks. Aside from the mental benefits, we get the physical benefits of vitamin D from the sun which improves bone and muscle strength, and endorphins from exercise which you can get simply from going on a walk around your neighborhood, the park, or a hike. Connecting with Mother Earth also usually means disconnecting from technology and monitoring how much time you’re on your device each day.
How do you connect with nature?
During this pandemic, we are spending a majority of our time inside, where things are safe for both yourself and others. Often we spend this time watching TV or browsing around on our phones. Spending too much time on technology can affect our overall health, by reducing physical activity, it can cause anxiety or depression, or negatively affect children’s emotional and social development. When I notice I haven’t been outside for a whole day, I go outside in my garden, lay down, and watch the clouds move for a few minutes. This makes me feel a part of the earth, as watching the clouds slowly glide by connects me to the movement of our world. A thought I always have when looking up at the sky is if others are looking up and enjoying the same sky as me, making us all connected to the earth and to one another. I’m lucky to have access to a private place to relax and observe, but when I am away from home, even just sticking my head out of a window – will work.
When you’re social distancing, try making an effort once a day to be off your phone and be in nature to disconnect from your busy life, go for scenic drives, outdoor picnics with family, take your lunch outside, grow plants, or simply watch the sunset. Even petting an animal can connect you with mother nature, studies have shown petting a dog or a cat can lower your blood pressure and relieve stress.
When I’m with family I try to stay off my phone and spend time together outside. Spending time outside can give everyone the opportunity to spread out and unwind. On Saturdays we get together and have BBQs, everyone contributes in their own ways and in the end we come together for a meal. Having time set aside for family, or just yourself to disconnect from technology and spend time outside is a simple and effective way to feel grounded and present. I hope we can all practice these habits this upcoming holiday season.