17 Jan Eight ways to bring nature into your New Year’s resolution
It’s a brand-new year, which means a fresh start that often comes with plenty of self-reflection. Instead of trying to stick to a list of New Year’s resolutions, why don’t you try to aim for one way to bring nature into your life for 2022?
Whether it’s enjoying our vast and beautiful Hampshire landscape or setting yourself a nature recovery project in your back garden, we’ve listed eight different ways you can connect with nature this year. We’d love to know which one is your favourite!
1. Explore somewhere new once every season
With a beautiful variety of coastline and countryside on offer in Hampshire, there’s always somewhere yet to discover. Who knows, you may even find your new favourite spot!
Nothing beats the feeling of finding a new place that you know you’ll come back to again and again, so why not commit to exploring somewhere new once a season? Four times a year could be an achievable goal that you can forward plan.
Near or far, find a Hampshire Countryside site to visit and plan your next adventure.
2. Bring your exercise routine into the great outdoors
From increased endorphins and blood flow to improved mental health and sleep quality, exercise brings a whole host of benefits to us, especially if we’re working from home or generally moving less. Combine these benefits with those of being in the countryside – fresh air, vitamin D from sunlight, and feelings of awe amongst a long list of others – it’s a great way to bring the two together.
There are plenty of opportunities with the Hampshire Countryside Service. From mountain bike trails, weekly Park Runs and Yoga & Brunch sessions at Queen Elizabeth Country Park to the myriad walking trails across all our Countryside sites, there’s plenty to get you started. You could even join the weekly Park Run sessions at Royal Victoria Country Park, Staunton Country Park, and Queen Elizabeth Country Park!
3. Increase your steps – even just a little
Getting some fresh air and treating yourself to a change of scenery is essential for your health and wellbeing, but we know that exercise isn’t easy or accessible for everyone. Simply pledging to try and increase your steps each day can go a long way in boosting your mental and physical wellbeing. Whether it’s for a quick walk to your local park or a visit to one of our trails, we promise you’ll feel the benefits. Why not walk your dog, bring a friend or listen to a podcast as you go?
4. Listen to the Looking After Nature podcast once a month
Speaking of podcasts, our Looking After Nature series is an easy way to bring nature into your life and learn more about our brilliant countryside. Published once a month, you can listen to our expert rangers discuss pressing topics no matter if you’re out and about or preparing a meal.
From wildlife wisdom to environmental and sustainability topics, you’re sure to learn more about nature at a pace that works for you. Make sure to let us know your favourite episode!
5. Think big picture: nurture nature by planting seeds
If you’re searching for a simple, one-off activity, there are seeds to be planted all year round. We know January may not seem like the time of year to be kicking off your gardening schedule, but there are plenty of seeds to be planted, from chillies and aubergines to basil and geraniums.
Regardless of if you only have a small bit of room on your windowsill or a sprawling multi-acre garden, there’s something for everyone. You’ll thank yourself when everything is in full bloom and ready for harvesting!
Need some help? Read what to plant in January by BBG Gardeners’ World to help you get started.
6. Grow your gardening game: plant a tree!
For those of you who are thinking ‘bigger picture’ for your gardening habits in 2022, why not have a go at planting a tree? Trees are crucial for the environment and support nature in many ways – you can even plant one as a tribute to the Christmas tree that served you so well through December, replacing a much-needed carbon converter and providing habitat for wildlife.
Our Ranger Lottie tells you all you need to know about tree planting in our YouTube video, but you could also join us onsite as a volunteer. We’re investing huge time and resource into tree planting across all our sites this year and beyond – do you fancy joining us?
7. Begin a nature journal
Not every goal has to be a huge investment in terms of time or energy; for example, the mindful process of committing the day’s events and thoughts to paper is often overlooked. It can take as much or as little time as you want it to; simply writing one thing that you’re happy with or proud of can be enough.
One great idea is to start a nature journal. Documenting the things you see and places you’ve been, it’ll encourage you to fully embrace and absorb your surroundings when exploring the outdoors. By the end of the year, you’ll have a season-by-season account of the year to enjoy looking back on.
For inspiration, read Janet’s guide to Nature Journaling.
8. Try a new hobby
Finally, there are many nature-related hobbies you can enjoy – everyone needs a passion in life! One of our favourites is birdwatching, and there are so many ways to get involved in nature’s version of hide and seek. You can birdwatch from almost anywhere, but also visit incredible bird hides like those at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve and take part in citizen science projects such as the Great Solent Birdwatch in October or the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch in January.
Need help getting started? Take a look at our beginner’s guide to birdwatching.
We hope our eight ways of bringing nature into your new year’s resolution guide has helped inspire your plans for the year ahead. If it has, we’d love to hear about it! Tag us on Facebook @HampshireCountrysideService and Instagram @HampshireCountryside so we can see your stories.