Rooted Ecotherapy Newsletter

December 2022 Edition

Reflecting on Your Relationship with Nature This Year

The ending of a year is often a time for reflecting on what the previous year has been and setting intentions for the year to come. Take some time this month to think about what your relationship with nature was like in 2022. Did the amount of time you spent outside feel satisfying? Were there moments of joy or connection that you experienced in nature this year? Were you able to connect with loved ones or friends while sharing time in nature together? 

After some time reflecting on your experience in nature this past year, I encourage you to explore your hopes and intentions for connecting with nature this coming year. Perhaps you are looking for new ways to give back to nature, through activities such as volunteering, recycling, or composting. Or, maybe, you simply want to spend more time each week outdoors.

Next, how can you make these goals achievable and measurable? For example, if you are wanting to spend more time connecting with nature, an achievable and measurable goal might be to spend 20 minutes outdoors 2-3 times per week. 

Ecotherapy Around the World

The idea of spending time in nature to support wellbeing and mental health is not a new idea. For thousands of years communities around the world have emphasized connection with nature. Each month, I’ll be sharing about how folks around the globe, presently and in the past, have connected with nature. 

For December, we will be exploring the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv,’ or “open-air life.” This is a practice over 5,000 years old, where folks in Norway make time to connect with nature regardless of season, weather, age, or ability status. It is based on the idea that nature is for everyone and we as humans are a part of nature too. When people in Norway practice friluftsliv, they are not doing one activity in particular, rather there are many ways to engage in the open-air life. Kids as young as preschoolers and kindergarteners go to outdoor schools, where they spend 80% of their time in nature as compared to in a classroom. As adults, Norwegians may practice friluftsliv by hiking with friends in the woods, going cross-country skiing with family, or going cycling for a first date with a potential partner. Because they spend so much time in nature, Norwegians develop a strong relationship to the natural environment, and thus work hard to protect and preserve it for generations to come. If you are curious to learn more about folks engage in the friluftsliv lifestyle, check out the TedX talk below.