Our connection to the Earth
We recently posted a blog about World Ocean Day and World Environment Day, both of which we wholeheartedly support here at SNOAP. However, it got us thinking about how we as humans connect to the Earth and how we can change our moods and improve our health by renewing our connection with our planet.
Now, before you stop reading because you think we’ve gone all woo-woo on you, let us tell you that June also played host to two other awareness days; National Selfie Day and National Go Barefoot Day. We think that all of these awareness days tie in with each other and ultimately, with that connection that a lot of people have with the planet. By getting involved, we become more aware of our surroundings and ultimately, we are improving our well-being without even really thinking about it.
The overall SNOAP mission is to reduce single-use plastic and foam pollution and to raise awareness of the damage that plastic does to the planet. However, we feel very strongly that everyone should foster a connection to nature, so we wanted to explore this in more detail.
Why go barefoot?
Let’s focus on you for a moment. You probably lead a busy life, with work, social commitments and possibly family demands too. Let’s suppose that your diary is full and you spend a lot of time just … existing. Rushing between appointments, putting your family and work first and although you know you should take more time for ‘you’, you’re really not sure how that could look on those days when you barely even have enough time to drink a cup of tea!
We’ve been there, so we get it. That’s partly why SNOAP was born, along with the desire to make a positive change to the planet. But if you live near a beach, you have a garden or even if you have a local park nearby, reconnecting with nature can really give you a boost and refill both your mental and physical cups. One of the best ways to reconnect is by going barefoot and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time.
Connecting with nature – the basics
According to the Mental Health Foundation, spending time in nature has lots of benefits; connecting with our surroundings makes a positive impact on both mental and physical well-being and promotes a feeling of ‘connectedness’ to the Earth. Studies revealed that during COVID, nearly half of the UK population (45%) coped with the situation by getting outdoors and visiting green spaces.*
Re-connecting with nature can be as simple as standing barefoot on the grass in your garden or in a local park, or even the beach; close your eyes, and let your other senses attune to your environment. Listen to the birdsong or the rolling of the waves and let your mind wander - as it does, you will pick up other sounds that you may not have noticed with your eyes open. What does the air smell like? How does the grass or the sand feel under your feet, or the sun on your face? Can you taste the air?
Take some deep breaths and settle yourself. When you open your eyes and prepare to go back to your daily routine, you should feel calmer, more grounded and hopefully having renewed your connection to the Earth. Research has shown that even writing a poem or story about a favourite natural place or activity can bring that connection back into our consciousness.
Smile! You’re on camera …
So, how does taking a selfie fit into this? We live in a world where if we choose to do so, we can be connected 24/7 to others. Even just looking at nature on a screen – although no substitute for being there – can improve your well-being, The act of taking a selfie has been elevated to an art form, but people are bringing awareness of plastic pollution and climate change to the world, through the power of social media, along with the beauty and serenity of the natural world.
We’ve all seen the distressing pictures of the boy canoeing through the ocean, which is just a sea of discarded plastic bottles. Imagine how it would feel to walk on that, rather than soft sand! We’ve seen shots of people with cloths wrapped around their faces because of the smog from climate-induced wildfires. People are bringing nature to us all the time through their pictures, whether that’s good or bad, so make your selfies count!
I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there, go barefoot and take a selfie of your experience! Feel free to tag us in your pictures @SNOAPUK. If you’ve got the bottle to change your choices and turn the tide on plastic pollution, sign up for our newsletter; as a SNOAPY, you will receive 10% off all of our products, for as long as you’re subscribed.
Until the next time,
*Source: Mental Health Foundation - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/research/nature-how-connecting-nature-benefits-our-mental-health