Earth Day is April 22. How Will You Spend It?

13 Ways to Reconnect with Nature and Give Back to the Planet

Send your good vibes out to the Earth and all who live here.

You know the feeling of that first spring morning where you don’t need a coat anymore? The kind of morning where the sky is magenta and the birds are singing as if to say, “I know, isn’t this amazing?”

This morning was like that. It was amazing, and it was so easy to witness the magic.

Time in nature has always helped me feel grounded and closer to my truest, most natural self, and I don’t know many people who wouldn’t say the same. Nature is cleansing, energizing, and relaxing. And it does it, well, naturally.

But it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature when we spend so much of our lives within four walls.

This morning’s majesty got me thinking about ways I could get back in touch with nature and support the planet. And with the 48th annual Earth Day happening April 22, what better time to begin?

If you’re looking for natural ways to revitalize your mind, body, and spirit, here are 13 simple activities to try (plus tips on giving back).

Cleanse and Reflect with Water

Reconnect with the cleansing and healing energy of water with these water-inspired exercises:

Savor Your Water

Access to clean water is not a reality for everyone, so when you have it, savor it. Thank the water that flows so readily to your home and the many hands who helped bring it to you.

Go to the Water

Go to water to clear away the stagnant energy. Look for fountains and pools, visit an aquarium, or if you must, turn on the ambient water sounds — think ocean waves, babbling brooks, and rainstorms.

Take it deeper with water-inspired journaling:

Bring along your journal (go green with recycled paper) and reflect on themes of life, purity, cleansing, and rebirth.

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

Describe a transformation in your life.

Tell the story of a ripple effect you’ve created in the world through your actions.

What were you like as a child? As a teen? And how have you grown up since then?

Flow Like Water

If you’re a yogi, you may know of flow in the context of vinyasa yoga, where movement is linked to your breath and each pose flows dynamically into the next. If yoga is part of your routine, focus on the harmony between movement and alignment as you move from pose to pose.

If you don’t have a yoga practice, no worries. Just slow down and feel the alignment of your body as you move.

Give Clean Water

If you feel called to help bring clean drinking water to more people or contribute to the efforts to clean our oceans, consider donating to or volunteering for a charitable cause like Charity: Water or Ocean Conservancy.

Get Inspired and Free Your Mind with Air

Get refreshed and inspired with these airy exercises:

Savor Your Breath

On an inhale, think of all the ways that breathing grounds and calms you. Imagine the oxygen molecules traveling through your body and clearing out the negative energy from each cell.

On an exhale, send a wish or intention out to the universe for how you want to go about the rest of your day.

Let the Fresh Air In

Open all the windows, take a stroll outside, or sit and let the breeze tickle your face.

Take it deeper with air-inspired journaling:

Bring your journal outside and reflect on themes of freedom, inspiration, and your wishes.

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

More than anything, I wish everyone could…

In as vivid detail as you can, describe a time you felt truly free.

For me, being inspired means…

Stop and Smell the Roses

Your sense of smell is a shortcut to positive energy and relaxation, so why not use it to bring fresh energy and motivation to your day?

Don’t know where to start? Lavender and vanilla are well-known for their relaxing properties, lemon is thought to promote concentration and calming, and cinnamon and rosemary can give you a mental boost.

Send Good Vibes into the Wind

Tibetan Buddhists hang prayer flags to send compassion and goodwill to all beings through the wind. You can do this, too. Send goodwill to all beings by sending your prayers, thoughts, or intentions out into the world through the wind.

(Note: Prayer flags are considered holy, so if you want to use them in your own home, do a little research on their proper use and care.)

Give Clean Air

If you feel called to contribute to the efforts to clean our air and tackle climate change, consider donating to or volunteering with charitable causes like Coalition for Clean Air and the Nature Conservancy.

Get Grounded with the Earth

Reconnect with the quiet, contemplative energy of the earth with these simple exercises:

Get Physical

Get grounded by physically connecting with the ground, grass, and trees. Walk barefoot in the grass, sit on the ground, touch a tree, or get into the sand and dig. You can also connect physically with the earth by planting and nurturing seeds.

Take it deeper with earth-inspired journaling:

Grab your journal, sit in the grass, and reflect on themes of stability, groundedness, and stillness.

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

I feel most grounded when I…

The thing I really wish people understood about life is…

These are the things I know to be true…

Create Something with Sand or Clay

Get your creative juices flowing while you try your hand at Zen gardening using sand or gravel, smooth stones, and figurines. You could also create a sand mandala with colored sand or salt.

If sculpting is more your style, grab a natural clay and let it speak. Don’t worry if your hands get a little dirty, that’s where the earth’s magic happens.

Of course, if you have access to sand and water, nothing beats a sand castle.

Take a Mindful Walk

In his book, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us to “walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Keep this intention in mind as you walk during the day. Practice moving lighter on your feet and imagine sending positive energy to the planet with each step.

Give Food and Shelter

If you feel called to contribute to efforts to provide sustainable food to humans and safe, clean habitats to wildlife, consider contributing to or volunteering with charitable causes like World Wildlife Fund or Rainforest Alliance.