8 Ways to Get Outside & Reconnect with Mother Nature

 

The start of the spring season is finally here and that means it’s time to step out of winter hibernation and head outside into the great outdoors. Like many of you, we have been spending a lot of time indoors lately. Whether it was the winter weather or other current life circumstances that kept us homebound, we know we aren’t alone as many of you have been spending a lot of time inside for the past year. (Hey, we’re all in this together though, right?)

Spring is often associated with a sense of rebirth, which causes many of us to want to refresh, refocus and renew. No matter how you plan on spending the spring season, we encourage each and every one of you to get outside and reconnect with Mother Nature. Here are eight ways you can get outside more this spring.

Benefits of Getting Outside

Getting outside and spending time in Mother Nature not only provides a change of scenery, but there are also some pretty neat benefits to spending more time outdoors.

  • Spending time outdoors in nature can give you a fresh perspective. One study from Stanford University even found walking can improve creative inspiration.
  • Outdoor time gives you time alone. Spending time with others is wonderful, but if you are living and working in a house full of people, you may need some extra me time. (We get, us too). The perfect escape is to spend some solo time outdoors exclusively on your own separate from group participation.
  • Nature helps decrease stress levels. Exercising outdoors in the presence of nature, also known as green exercise, can be beneficial for mental health. Living near green space can offer numerous benefits, but even if you live in a city, you can still benefit from time spent outdoors in Mother Nature.

  • 8 Easy Ways to Get Outside This Spring

    #1 Ask a Family Member or Friend to Join You

    An easy way to spend more time outside is to ask a family member, friend or neighbor to join you, especially if you aren’t accustomed to getting outside. Just like how having an accountability partner at the gym can be helpful when creating a new exercise routine, having an outdoor buddy can be a great way to make sure you head outside each day. If you don’t feel comfortable walking with others or can’t find a family member or friend to join you, that’s okay! Plan a casual stroll around your neighborhood and call a family member or friend as you walk. If walking and talking isn’t your thing, then plug in a podcast or turn on some tunes. If you are constantly bombarded and inundated with emails, phone calls and technology during the day, take this time spent outside to savor the present moment. Whether it’s enjoying the fresh springtime air or a few rays of spring sunshine while you meditate on a park bench, you can enjoy spending time outside with others or by yourself.


    #2 Bike Ride
     

    Another super simple way to get outside and reconnect with Mother Nature this spring is by going for a bike ride. How many of us have bikes that are just sitting in our garage or storage space collecting dust? If you’re in a city like New York, you may have access to Citi Bikes which is a program that’s affordable and a fun way to get around the city. Channel the fresh vibes of the springtime season to do something fun by going for a bike ride. It can be a casual bike ride around your neighborhood or hop on a local bike path or trail in your community. Use bike paths for your own safety and the safety of others. If you prefer another activity, try rollerblading instead! Just remember to wear a helmet and any other protective equipment you have available to you. No one needs any scraped knees!

    #3 Explore Your Neighborhood
               

    One of our favorite ways to get outdoors more, especially during spring, is by exploring our very own neighborhood. It’s astonishing how we can grow accustomed to the same sights surrounding our homes, so this spring, put on a new perspective and explore your neighborhood with a fresh pair of eyes. Admire the beauty of the fresh springtime blooms, look at the architecture of the buildings and pay attention to nearby parks and places you may have always missed. It’s amazing what you can discover when you take the time to really look at your everyday surroundings with a different vantage point. If you are familiar with your own neighborhood, consider planning a visit to a nearby neighborhood and exploring brand new sights right outside your front door. In some cities, you’ll find neighborhood tours. Check out the tourism guide in your city for more information. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to go on a self-guided tour in New York City (where we’re located), check out GPSmycity (keep in mind that some of the restaurants mentioned may or may not be open).


    #4 Go for a Walk in the Park
     

    As you explore your local community or new neighborhoods, pay attention to places like parks. Parks are another fun way to get outside as many parks provide general areas for sports and recreational activities, playgrounds for the kids and walking paths. When exploring your neighborhood or somewhere nearby, you never know when you will find a hidden gem. Another reason to pay close attention to parks? Picnics.

    #6 Head to the Beach
     

    Although it’s not summer just yet, you can still head to the beach for some springtime fun in the sun. Slather on the SPF and head out for a walk along the beach or an outdoor workout with a beach theme. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic and make it a day spent outdoors with family and friends.

    #6 Plan a Picnic
     

    As much as we enjoy spending time outside reconnecting with Mother Nature, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the great outdoors is by hosting a picnic with family, friends and neighbors. It’s an easy way to get outside while spending time with others outdoors. When planning a picnic, pack accordingly and create a menu largely based on foods that are safe to eat and enjoy at room temperature. Think of things like:

    • Bottled water
    • Chips and salsa
    • Crackers
    • Fresh fruits
    • Granola
    • Homemade hummus
    • Popcorn 
    • Pretzels
    • Trail mix
    • Salads
    • Sandwiches
    • Vegetables from the local farmers market

    #7 Take a Hike

    This spring, hit the local hiking trails. Whether it’s a short hike near your home or an afternoon spent at a state or national park, planning a hike is another easy and fun way to head outside and enjoy the warmer weather all while disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with Mother Nature. Remember to slather on the SPF and take a pair of binoculars so you can do some sight seeing. Springtime bird watching anyone? Don’t forget to bring a snack. Serious hikers know that walking can create hunger and that’s why they always have a snack in their packs. We suggest carrying It’s Nola Minis or the resealable 2-serving sizes in Luscious Cranberry Coconut or Sassy Mango Masala.

    #8 Workout Outdoors

    Working out is wonderful, but if you’ve been working out indoors since fall or winter, it’s time to step outside in the springtime sunshine and get your daily dose of sweat on in the great  outdoors. Hit up an outdoor HIIT class, go for a jog/run or get your namaste on with an invigorating springtime yoga flow. If you are interested in exploring an outdoor class, check out your favorite gyms or studios to see if they offer outdoor classes or try your local park district’s website for upcoming classes.

    Spring is all about fresh starts, so go ahead and refresh your current indoor lifestyle and head outdoors to enjoy the new spring season while reconnecting with family, friends and Mother Nature herself. 

    Tag us @itsnolasnack so we can see how you enjoy spending time outside in Mother Nature. Bonus if it includes It’s Nola!

    Need some recipe inspiration for your next springtime picnic? Check out @MBVeganShare or join our CEO live @itsnolasnack every other Sunday when she shares some delicious and nutritious Vegan recipes. Don’t worry, even if you aren’t Vegan, you will enjoy these dishes.

    Chipidi Recipe
    Need a recipe for all of your upcoming picnics in the park? Try this chickpea (egg salad-like) sandwich, which we fondly call Chipidi! Prepare the night before your picnic and place it in the refrigerator then enjoy.

    Ingredients:

    • 1- 15 oz can of chickpeas (organic, if you so desire), rinse well and mash. 
    • 1/2 white onion (chopped finely if you're preparing for kids and keep it chunky if you're someone who loves onions)
    • 1 garlic clove (minced)
    • 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (my favorite is Vegenaise (made by Earth Island)
    • 1 tsp dill (chopped)

    Directions:

    1) Choose your favorite bread and pile it on! Yep, that’s it. It’s so simple!

    Optional: Add capers, chives,  dijon mustard and a slice of vegan cheese (cheddar or smoked gouda) are some of our favorites. Note: keep Chipidi in a cooler with other items that need to remain cool. Make the sandwich at the picnic.

    Bonus Beauty Tip:

    Chickpeas on the face? Yup. If you’re spending more time outdoors, you have to do more than slather on sunscreen. Did you know that the magnesium in chickpeas can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines? Who doesn’t want to prevent premature wrinkles? And the zinc in chickpeas can help fight acne. It’s amazing what Mother Nature has given us to help us take better care of ourselves. 

    Mask up: You can either boil your own chickpeas or use a 15 oz can of organic chickpeas for this mask. 

    ¼ cup Chickpeas (mash)

    1 tbsp Agave

    Create a paste and smooth over skin. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Use cold water to close pores. What a refreshing feeling! Use a mask in the morning or evening. I like the mornings! 

    Remember, we want you healthy and happy.