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Given the global pandemic that we are in now, it is very easy to be stuck at home and not go outside. It is even easier to forget the importance of being in nature and appreciating our environment. Due to the increasing technology usage and busier lifestyles, nature deficit disorder is becoming more common, and it is now a serious problem in our generation. Nature deficit disorder, coined by author and journalist Richard Louv, refers to the notion that people are spending less time outdoors and making less effort to connect with nature. This disorder can affect an individual physically and mentally, and studies have shown it especially impacts the development of children. In honor of Earth Day, I want to give you all some fun, easy and attainable ways to reconnect with nature.

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Become a Plant Parent

Becoming a plant parent is a trend that started during the pandemic, where many Generation Z and Millennials spend time caring for plants. Anyone can be a plant parent, regardless of whether they are taking care of a tiny succulent plant or an entire garden. Tending to plants provides individuals the same benefits they could obtain from being outdoors. By providing a sense of purpose in life, taking care of plants teaches people knowledge beyond the environment and sustainability, from life lessons like patience, responsibilities, and focus. Furthermore, it is also a form of self-care where people feel more fulfilled and happier with their lives, ultimately improving their mental health.

Have an Outdoor Picnic

Whether it is on a beach or at a park, a picnic is something anyone can do to spend some quality time with family and friends while being immersed in nature. In a fast-paced society, an outdoor picnic is a great way to slow down people’s hectic lives. Everyone needs to take a break occasionally and focus on themselves and their environment. In addition to absorbing Vitamin D from the sun, an outdoor picnic can help to relieve stress and anxiety by brightening up one’s day. Research indicates that physically being in nature boosts creativity, happiness, and even memory and cognitive functions. So, consider incorporating outdoor picnics as part of your weekend routines or outdoor activities, to lead you to better enjoy your life and nature.

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Stargazing is an activity that is suitable for everyone to participate in. It doesn’t necessarily require any knowledge, equipment or a great deal of effort. Anyone can stargaze from anywhere with anyone, all they need to do is look up at the sky when it is dark. Since this is a flexible and attainable activity, more and more people see stargazing as their mediation sessions or intimate bonding time with others. Gazing at all the celestial bodies in the sky gives a sense of peace and quiet, reminding us of how powerful nature is and how insignificant we are compared to the universe. As individuals relax their minds, their bodies often follow and relax as well, eventually bringing us to a state of calmness and relaxation. Doubling as a bonding activity, the peacefulness stargazing conveys encourages people to talk about intimate and personal topics with others, allowing them to better understand each other on a deeper level. Not only does stargazing guide you to connect with our environment, but it also functions as a method to connect with yourself, your mind, and your body.

For our physical and mental health, it is necessary to make sure that we are always spending time in nature and learning how to appreciate our environment. These are just some examples of how an individual can reconnect with nature, there are still many other options that you can choose to do. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be mindful of the ways they can develop a deeper connection with nature, so that they can enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life with a healthy mental state and physical body.

Iris Au

UCD '22

Iris is studying Communications and Economics at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a senior and is a big fan of cheesy rom-coms and cooking shows. She hopes to pursue a future career in public relations or marketing after graduating college.
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