Moving into a new year leases us a fresh look into our lives and lends a feeling of space and freedom. Having the feeling of a clean slate can be a perfect platform to transform your environment into one that is relaxing, fulfilling, safe and pleasing.
Nature provides us with all the resources we need to bring calm and contentment into our lives. Not all of us are lucky enough to live in the wild woods and have an abundance of natural life at our doorsteps, but having a sense of comfort and lushness in our urban homes is totally achievable!
Here are a few simple ways to entwine nature into your existence.
Grow your own herbs.
The first one is kind of obvious. Growing herbs can be done just about anywhere. You can grow potted herbs on a balcony, kitchen sink, on a windowsill or just about anywhere with a nice amount of sun and fresh water. Having access to your own herbs not only saves you money but also allows you to use them whenever you need, and not just for cooking!
My favourite (easy to care for herbs) include: Lavender, rosemary, chamomile, parsley, mint, lemon balm, dill and coriander.
Fresh mint steeped in hot water (as a tea) is a lovely digestive tonic, it can help with indigestion and reflux after a big meal.
Lemon balm is a lovely calming herb that can be used fresh in a tea (like mint) and can be enjoyed any time of the day when you need some calm. It is also a nice tonic for stomach aches and spasms.
Make a delicious sauce for salads, steak, fish or eggs by blending parsley, dill and coriander with some extra virgin olive oil or macadamia oil. You can add a squeeze of lemon to really elevate the taste! Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Incorporate fresh herbs into your salads, stews and sauces. This is an easy way to bring medicine into your meals.
Fresh lavender can be picked and placed in a little vase next to your bed or inside your pillow slip to produce relaxing sleepy vibes.
Up your hydration game.
Enticing yourself to drink more water can only be a good thing. During the summer months our water demands can increase as we naturally perspire more. Often people who work outdoors or have physically demanding lifestyles can feel as though they drink plenty of water but never feel 'hydrated'. This can often be due to an electrolyte imbalances stemming from losing salt through our sweat.
Adding a small pinch of celtic or sea salt to your water bottles can help increase hydration on a cellular level.
Ways to motivate you to drink more water (with a little help from nature):
Add fresh herbs to your water (like mint, rosemary, lemon balm, lavender).
Make some ice blocks with fruit or herbs frozen into them to cool your water down and give it a little hint of flavour.
Add fresh or frozen fruit (such as berries, lemon, lime, pomegranate) to your water for a little flavour and fun.
Make up a big jar of tea (such as peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, calendula, spearmint, rooibos etc.) and place it in the fridge overnight. Enjoy this over ice for a hydrating and medicinal elixir.
Keep clean without the chemicals.
Reducing your exposure to everyday household cleaners and chemicals is essential for liver and hormonal health. Making your own products is cheap, safe and easy and allows you to control exactly what is going into your home.
You'd be surprised how many random things in your fridge and cupboard can actually be used as safe, natural household cleaners!
Make yourself a fresh orange juice and keep the remainder of the oranges (flesh and peel).
Cut them into quarters and place in a large jar tightly pushed down.
Cover with white vinegar and let infuse for 1-2 weeks.
Optional: add some cloves or rosemary for an additional lovely scent.
Pour liquid into a spray bottle and label so you don't forget what you've made!
Perfect for bench tops, cook tops, oven cleaning, bathrooms and high traffic areas.
For everyday stains (hello turmeric stains on the bench) a mix of bicarbonate soda and dishwashing detergent works wonders to lift grease and stains.
Make a paste of bicarbonate soda and detergent and apply to area. If you are needing to soak something (like a baking tray or dish) then sprinkle the bicarb soda and detergent into the dish and add hot water. Let it soak for a few hours then wash clean.
Hang a bunch of fresh or dried eucalyptus on your shower head. The steam from your hot shower vaporises the air with the lovely oils from the eucalyptus which is naturally anti-bacterial.
After a shower you can use the multi spray to give it a good scrub and clean (without the nasty smell of bleach).
Bring greenery into your life.
I probably don't need to encourage most of you to buy more plants, but it is well known that plants in the home are a welcome addition. Bringing plants into your environment has been shown to decrease anxiety, reduce stress, improve mood and increase feelings of relaxation (Beyond Blue, 2010).
With our lives now being saturated with technology and our homes being filled with electronic devices, it is important we don't lose our connection with the natural world.
American biologist E.O Wilson in 1984 introduced the concept of 'biophilia'. This refers to our human affinity for life and living systems. This concept described the notion that because we evolved out of nature, we have a deep inherent and genetic need to connect to nature. When we become separated from nature we become disconnected from our biological needs and ourselves. This separation is often detrimental to our health.
To counteract the 'modern-ness' of our environment, plants can be used to fulfil our need to be connected to nature.
Indoor plants are perfect to bring a dose of greenery to your home and most of them are pretty simple to care for. Succulents, peace lilies, fiddle leaf figs and devils ivy are common plants that you can create a sacred space with.
To bring out your inner gatherer, pick a few sprigs of foliage on your neighbourhood walk and pop them in a little vase or glass around the house, this not only is a lovely ritual but is a reminder of the natural world that surrounds you and makes you appreciate the environment.
For more inspiration and resources have a look at these:
Stay green folks,