Gardening Magazine

How I Re-Connected with Nature

By Sophiecussen

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Isn’t it funny how sometimes you consciously start doing one thing only to find two or three subconscious things happen at the same time?

Habits

I decided that after having let them slip over the last few weeks, from starting them way back last yr, it was time to pick my good habits up again.

One of them was to get a proper evening routine by going to sleep at a reasonable time and the other was to get back my early morning routine (because I love early mornings), which I’d seriously hammered since my evening routine got shot.

So about a month ago, over a weekend when I knew the weather was going to be top notch and not wanting to waste a minute of it, I prepared a Friday evening routine and enabled it (just like something out of X-Men).  I was in bed by 9pm.

I was in bed that early for two reasons:

  1. I needed to get back into reading
  2. I wanted to be awake at 5am

Obviously I couldn’t make myself sleep so early but the habit of routine meant I needed to show my body and mind that it was time to relax and unwind while letting go of all the day’s thoughts (and ideas) before turning the light off.

The only way to do this, and something I’ve been very lax of late, was to switch my smart phone off.

Smartphone misery

If ever anything has not only infiltrated but ruined a nights sleep it’s my smart phone.  It started with just and odd tweet and ended up with me spending a good couple of hours tweeting, watching You Tube and playing games on the damn thing – every single evening.

By the time I had finished doing all that it wasn’t unusual for me to switch the light off at midnight and still have a mind bursting full of ideas and thoughts!  The phone is now turned off at 8pm every single night.

Saturday morning I was awake and up at 5am, and the same went for Sunday.  The routine had begun.

You wouldn’t think having an extra two/three hours in the morning would make that much difference but it sure did.  I managed to pack in a day’s work before 9am.

Most importantly the new routine has enabled me to get in nearly two hours or writing time, early morning walks, time spent in the garden, jogging, washing and cleaning the house, and time spent relaxing and reading.

By 9pm the following night I was more than ready for bed!

Discovering old loves

As the weekend flowed into the following week my 5am alarm slightly faltered a couple of days but I got back into it again by the weekend.  The routine is sticking and more importantly – it’s working and a month on it’s still working!

I wanted to finish my evening routine with reading however I haven’t been able to get into any novels from the usual list at the moment.  I was halfway through one and although it’s a good read, it wasn’t all that exciting.  Then I thought, why am I only reading non-fiction books?  We have shelves and shelves of books that are just sitting there.  Why am I not reaching for those?  So I did and I fell in love with books all over again.

Confession:  I never used to read that many novels.  At the library I’d always get armfuls of books on insects or mountains or guides to America but as I got older it just became the norm (and easier to carry) to head to the fiction sections.

From our shelves I picked up one of my favourite books – The First Time Naturalist by Nick Baker.  How exciting it was to read about habitats, birds and wildlife.  The pictures brought back memories of collecting caterpillars and moths, hedgehogs and slugs as a child.  How had I forgotten about all this?

As I read through the book my enthusiasm just grew and I realised I needed to re-connect with nature.  In my garden, as one habitat, but out there – in the woods, at the sea, in the fields nearby this is where I needed to be, and not just to walk through them, as I do usually with Mouse in tow, but to really explore them again, as I did yrs ago.

It’s easy to just take the local area for granted but now when I’m out and about I actively look at the habitat around me, even if it’s in the centre of town.  I’m not just looking at the pigeons, I’m looking at the weeds growing in the cracks, or the swans on the river.  I’m also trying to get out into the local habitats (I’m lucky I have two on my doorstep – coast and countryside) at least once a week.  It’s great.  I feel like I’ve woken up.

Approaching nature as a desk jockey

I’ve drawn a list up (I like lists a lot!), with all the birds, insects, mammals and flowers I’d like to be able to track down and photograph in their respective habitats.  I figured it might be the best way to go about this, rather than just spending all day at a river or in a corn field not knowing what it is I’m looking at (although that can be just as much fun).

I have no idea if the list will be achievable or indeed if I’ll even find those on the list but it’s exciting to find out.

Starting back my routines have really opened up my world again without even looking for it.

Who said routine had to be boring?

Have you got a morning or evening routine?  Let me know I’d love to hear about it.


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