Let the Sun Shine!

A Monthly Wellness Column

By Amie Mignatti

We are currently in unknown territory, in the midst of a global pandemic that has us confined to our homes and our immediate natural surroundings. Our freedom was very quickly shut down and within weeks our world was reduced to a few kilometers. From here, our perspectives have greatly shifted: we’ve gone from a macro view of the world to a very micro view.

As we live within our new reality, uncertain of how long this will last, we must take steps every single day to keep our bodies, minds, and spirits healthy. One of the best remedies I’ve found for this is to get outside daily for an hour or more. We are no longer tied to shuffling our children between school, friends, and activities, and our own social lives are no longer functioning as before. We finally have time. We are not busy anymore; we are free from that.

As a nature educator for children and a nature coach for adults, I cannot stress the importance of establishing a connection with nature enough right now. For me, there are two things that I make a priority each and every day during this quarantine: exercise, also for at least an hour; and, as mentioned above, getting outdoors with my child for at least an hour. These two things have helped build structure into a structure-less day, have helped anchor me, and have given me a focus.

I’ve noticed that the more time I spend outside, and the more time I spend away from the phone/social media/news, the better I feel. It’s interesting because in a world that is so connected, I feel best when I am disconnected from all that is going on but at the same time more connected to nature and the present moment.

For those of you that are struggling with feeling good, I urge you to make it a priority to get outdoors: go for a long walk everyday. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside right now and we finally have the time to enjoy spring. Do not let this season pass you by. Have a picnic under a tree with your children, create art from nature, allow the kids to run and be free– climb trees, dig in the dirt, get dirty! And allow yourself time away from all the noise. It is so quiet right now – little air traffic, fewer cars – and there is such a magic in this silence. We can again hear the birds loud and clear as they sing for us, and allow their songs into our hearts.

Nature has such healing power. It lifts our spirits, puts things in perspective, opens our hearts, takes our breath away, and is a mirror to our own lives. As with everything in nature, there are beginnings and endings, and there will be an end to our current reality, and a beginning to the next one. And as with the seasons– they are also fleeting and yet each one has its very own magic and beauty that touch us deeply. So take a look around you, and rather than looking at what you are lacking and can’t do or don’t have, switch your perspective and look at what you do have. There are so many things to be grateful for right now, and the more that we can immerse ourselves in these, the richer we’ll be and the calmer we’ll be.

Amie Mignatti is committed to bringing children and adults into the outdoors, so that they can learn new skills, feel at home in nature, and be in a space where they can connect more deeply with themselves. She is confident that more time spent outdoors can lead to a healthier and calmer life, a more positive attitude and a never ending sense of wonder. She is happiest when she and her family are in the forest around the campfire with good friends. She leads courses and retreats for all ages. http://www.amiemignatti.com

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