Colleen Hayes is the Founder and CEO of Prezence, a digital wellness app.

When the Gympass team approached me to write a guest blog for Earth Day, I was honored to share some thoughts. Nature is such a source of healing and inspiration for me. Whenever I need to clear my head, boost creativity, or cry it out on a difficult day – I pop out for a quick walk and instantly feel a much needed boost. 

As human beings, we were meant to be outside. Most of us can grow and consume many of Earth’s incredible resources like fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts, and all of the goodness that grows from Mother Nature. We require oxygen, Vitamin D, nourishment in the form of food and water, and movement. All of these needs are met by spending time outside.

Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes

Beyond the scientific benefits, there is a reason that people use the phrase “breath of fresh air” to describe something light, beautiful, and soothing. That’s the intangible feeling we can’t quite name without experiencing it first. Think about the feeling of a cool breeze by the water on a warm summer night, the rustling of leaves on a fall day, or the panoramic views you’re able to consume at the top of a mountain. That’s the good stuff in life. It’s funny to think now that in our always on digital world, we “recharge” ourselves by disconnecting from technology. We head back to where we are meant to be – where we belong.

Earth Day 2021 is here and I couldn’t be more grateful to share some of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness and meditation in nature.

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Schedule intentional breaks to get out in nature

Block off your calendar for 5, 15, or 60 minutes – whatever you have. Take time for yourself outside, even if it is just a lap around your block.

Meditate outside

Find a quiet place in nature (or a noisy place) to have a seat and pop in your headphones for a guided meditation. I recommend Catie Macken’s “Focus on Each Step” on the Prezence App.

Take a mindful walk

Mindfulness is all about noticing and bringing your full awareness to any experience. Go on a mindful walk outside. Take time to notice what you see. Perhaps just focus on plants, or people, or buildings. Or maybe you focus on a specific color. How many items of that specific color can you notice? If you’re feeling it is hard to stay present, try “Walk with Me” by Aparna Sherman on the Prezence App.

Interact with nature

Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes

Physically coming into contact with nature is so healing. When you touch a beautiful flower, brush past a tree with your finger tips, or taste a blueberry fresh off of a bush – there’s nothing quite like it. Nature receives so much energy from the physical world around us. It might sound silly, yet we want you to try this…actually touch some type of nature today – a plant, a tree, grass, the ocean, anything. Notice what this experience offers you.

Journal outside

Grab a pen and paper and jot down anything that you’re feeling. If you can’t think of anything, just simply write down the question “How am I feeling” and begin to free write. You can repeat this exercise with any question or idea you want to reflect on.

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It is my wish for you to get outside every day. We have 24-hours in a day. Why wouldn’t you spend at least one full hour outside? If you have children, a stressful job, or other obligations that make it more difficult, try bringing some people in your life together to enjoy the outdoors while supporting your loved ones and colleagues. A walking meeting or an after dinner family stroll are always great ideas.

Happy Earth Day. Get outside and breathe.

Find new ways to connect with yourself this Earth Day by using one of our many wellbeing partners like Prezence on Gympass. Try a meditation, get better sleep, and relieve stress when you get started with Gympass today.