Are you ready to transform your connection to nature and dramatically boost your well-being? Join us for a 14 day nature challenge, where each day we will do something small to connect more with nature.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better - Albert Einstein.
At Botanical Trader we value the natural world as a key part of holistic living, health and well-being. It is no secret that getting outdoors amongst the natural elements, feeling and breathing the fresh air and connecting with nature can fill our cups with gratitude while also elevating our energy, boosting our wellbeing and reminding us of our place within the natural world.
Over the next 14 days we invite you, your friends, your children and your entire family to complete some simple nature-centred tasks to help refresh and recharge your mind, body and soul and bring a little more nature goodness into your daily life.
From this coming Monday November 1st we are committing to doing one simple task to connect more with nature. We will be sharing our nature experiences & we would love for you to share yours and tag us on instagram @botanicaltrader
From Monday we will update this page daily as each new challenge is released, with information, mini-challenges, free downloadables and more.
This 14 day nature challenge is an invitation to Slow down. Breathe. Become Present.
Nature Challenge Tasks
Day 1. Observe Nature
It's been said that noticing and giving attention to things outside yourself is one of the greatest and purest forms of generosity. Tuning in and becoming one with nature is an example of this.
Nature, like us, is alive. When we spend time in nature, all its goodness permeates our mind, body, soul. It positively affects our mood, our health and our own perception of the world around us.
The sights, sounds, smells, textures and taste in the air bring our senses alive, and nature invites us to slow down and become present.
When you follow paths through nature - do you ever feel like it is healing you?
Nature helps to reduce stress, calm anxiety and slows our breath, heart and pace of life down. It boosts our immunity, and anywhere from an hour a day out in nature helps us get a better night of sleep, rest and rejuvenation.
For the first challenge go outside and spend five minutes fully present and immersed in nature. Engage all your senses, and go from "doing" to "being". Feel, live and breathe the experience in the present moment rather than getting caught up in your thoughts.
Give yourself the opportunity to really settle in and feel a genuine connection with nature. Observe all the different layers of nature from the smallest insects buzzing in the flowers, to the clouds floating in the sky.
Notice how you feel while taking time out to connect with nature. Notice what you hear? Write down any experiences that came up for you in nature.Read the full day one challenge, download your nature observation sheet, meditation and watch the nature video here >>>>
Day 2. Gratitude For Flowers
On day two of the 14 day nature challenge we are going to stop and smell the flowers. There are two exercises, one is the gratitude for flowers exercise where both adult and kids can make a gratitude flower and even build a gratitude flower garden wall. Plus we will be doing an appreciation mindfulness exercise with flowers.
Activity One: Gratitude For Flowers
A mindfulness activity that is great for kids and adults to harbour positivity, appreciation for the small things and connection to the natural world.
What you need: The gratitude for flower template, colouring in pencils, glue, scissors and a grateful open heart.
1. Start by cutting out the circle for the centre of the flower and write your name on it. You can also write the name of someone to whom you want to send love and kindness.
2. Next cut out the big petals for the flower. Be creative and experiment with colours. Feel free to create your own petal template.
3. Write down or draw pictures of the things you are grateful for on the petals. If you are making one for someone else then write or draw what you want intentions you want to send them.
4. Glue the petals to the flower centre and you have your first gratitude flower!
If you do this with a group of others, you can do a whole garden of flowers! You can even create a happy place by hanging the flowers on a wall for an awesome “indoor garden” to which you can return to get a gratitude boost.
Activity Two: The Secret Language Of Flowers
This exercise is simple but incredibly powerful because it helps you notice and appreciate seemingly simple elements of your environment more profoundly.
The exercise is designed to connect you with the beauty of the natural environment, something that is easily missed when we are rushing about our daily lives trying to complete that never-ending to-do list or hopping on and off trains on the way to work.
Nature gives us all that we need to experience joy, peace, stillness in the present moment. The big question is, do we allow nature to do its job? Are we too busy to stop and notice the powerful effect nature can have on our entire well-being? Or are we too distracted and overwhelmed to let nature in?Read the full day two challenge about the Secret Language Of Flowers which includes a flower observation journal sheet and the flower mindful observation exercise.
Day 3. Collate A Herbarium Identification Book
Having a curiosity about nature and wanting to understand it deeper is one of the greatest ways to deepen our connection with nature. So taking the time to learn about and observe the plants is a fun and educational way to do this, and creating your own herbarium identification book is the perfect tool for this.
A herbarium is a collection of plant specimens preserved or pressed on a specimen sheet. The specimen sheet is labelled with important data and facts and then filed in an organised system. Ultimately, it is a library of dried plant specimens used for both education and research.
Typically, the plants are flattened, dried and mounted on uniformly sized, archival paper, but some herbarium's also include mosses, algae, fungi or lichens in archival paper packets, seeds, wood sections, pollen, microscope slides, DNA extractions or jars of plant parts preserved in alcohol or glycerin.
Formally, Herbarium specimens are always accompanied by a label that indicates the location where the plant was growing, the collector and the date collected. It is also good practice to include any observations and information about the appearance of the plant and the context or habitat where it was found. Each herbarium specimen is assigned a unique accession number, which functions like the catalogue number of a book in a library.
With a herbarium, you can take samples of the plants in your own region and find out what they are later. Plus they look beautiful and make for a wonderful coffee table book or gift.
To get you started I have created a free specimen template for you to download here >>>>
Day 4. Moon Journalling [New Moon]
The New Moon brings inspiration, dreams and new beginnings. It is the first inhale you take on your new road to a better life, a better way of being and a better you. This is the time to set intentions for new dreams, new goals, new habits. It is a time to start new projects and call in your destiny. It is a great time to plant a garden, get pregnant or make a shift.
Mark in your journal or calendar the moon phases so that you can follow the lunar cycles. Create yourself a little ritual for every New and Full Moon by creating yourself a sacred space with your journal, candles, crystals, sage, Palo Santo, incense, oracle cards, objects from nature or anything else that feels good for you on an energetic level.
Most of us don't have the luxury of having an entire room to turn into our own sacred little space, so choose a part of your home that feels good. Ideally, it will have a window to draw in fresh cleansing air and allow the light from the moon to shine in.
Your sacred space could be in the corner of a room, at your desk, on your balcony or maybe in your bedroom. This little space is your retreat, a place to go and journal every Full Moon and New Moon.
Open up your journal, and write anything you want to attract into your life. If you are having trouble getting started, then use my journal prompts below. If you find that once you have journaled what you want to attract , that you have a desire to keep writing - then open up and let it flow outwards onto the paper in your journal.
Being a new moon, you may like to place your new intentions in a special jar or in a bowl surrounded by flowers, crystals, rocks and anything else that has a high energy value for you.
There are no rules to journaling, all you need to do is follow your heart, intuition and internal wisdom. Do it in a way that resonates with you. Here are some ideas to get you started or you may like to download my free Moon Mapping Journal Template here >>>>
For more journaling inspiration, journal templates, journal prompts read our journaling resource over at The OM Collective here >>>>
Journaling For The New Moon
New Moon Date:
Ask yourself. What intentions, actions, and new adventures am I being called to invite into my life this New Moon?
New Moon Journal Prompts:
- How do I want to feel for the next lunar cycle [28 days]
- What would I like to attract or manifest into my life?
- What small actions can I take this lunar cycle to get closer to my dreams and set my intentions into motion?
- What new beginning do I want to step into?
- What is my inner wisdom telling me to do?
- What purpose for my life feels right?
- What activities, people and subjects light me up and make me happy?
- What new healthy habits would I like to implement into my life?
- How do I want to spend my time. Where and who with do I want to spend my time?
- What is that one big thing I know I want to do- but am stopping myself from doing?
- Yes. I am ready to receive from the universe.
- What do I want more of in my life?
- What are some simple joys I can focus on for the next lunar cycle?
**** To amp up your manifesting why not take 25 minutes to do my meditation on Connecting with Divine Guidance here >>>>
Day 5. Forage Or Grow Herbs To Make A Herbal Tea
Steep your soul and drink a pot or mug of herbal tea. Herbal teas are brimming with nourishment and plant-energy.
When you forage or grow the herbs yourself it strengthens your connection with nature. Once you have gathered up your herbs for the herbal tea, take them inside, chop them and make a pot of tea. Even better why not practice a short mindful tea ritual.
Tea rituals are a personal thing, however here are some things that are important for my own tea ritual.
- I like to boil water the traditional way – in a kettle on the stove. There is something special about boiling water on the stovetop.
- While you are waiting for the water to boil wash and chop your herbs and put them into a small teapot. I take a moment to enjoy the sight and feel of the herbs while breathing in the fragrance. I also take a moment to cast my mind to what it took to grow the herbs - a seed, sun, water, good soil, a nourishing season.
- I also set up a sacred spot where I am going to sip my tea – I like to use a bamboo tray and placemat. Sometimes I light a candle and put music on. Other times I sit outside and listen to the birds and admire nature.
- Once the kettle has boiled add hot water to the herbs and infuse for 2-3 minutes.
- I pour the slightly steeped tea into a small cup. Then savour the colour, texture, smell, and try to see what aromas I can detect.
- Then I take my sip. The first sip is a revelation, as the rushed world fades away. I then bring my attention to what aromas rise up in the steam. I also notice how the tea warms my body. What does the body of the freshly brewed tea feel like in my mouth – dry, thin, grainy, full? What taste persists? Is it earthy, floral or fruity? Sipping herbal tea will take you on a sensual journey inspiring you to entirely engage into a fully present moment with the herbs you have collected and nature itself.
That’s my tea ritual. Please copy it, improve on it. And remember that once you make it a habit, it’s seriously life-changing.
For the full tea ritual and tea meditation read/listen to my post over at The OM Collective here >>>>
Day 6. Watch A Sunrise Or Sunset
The Sun is a magnificent phenomenon on this planet, where both sunrise and sunset are sacred occasions, inviting us to slow down and become present within the moment.
With the pings, dings and endless distractions of modern-day culture, many of us are leading hectic lives where we live on auto-pilot and have become disconnected from nature and the natural cycles of life.
Deepen your connection with both yourself and nature by getting up early to watch the sunset as you give thanks for a new day or farewell the day by stopping and admiring the sunset.
Waking up when the world is still quiet to witness the beautiful artistry of colours during sunrise is an inspiring and magnificent time of day. As the early morning breeze kisses your face and the birds sing, it is an awakening of the planet, birds, trees, and wildlife. It is a new day and a new beginning. The quietude of the early morning is a beautiful time to connect with yourself before the busy modern world wakes up and you become affected by the frenetic energy of all the busyness going on around you and maybe even within you.
"Sunset is the opening music of the night"
Mehmet Murat ildan
Witnessing the beginning and closing of a day can bring joy into the everyday mundane routine - it is an opportunity to pause, breathe and become present, making it the perfect opportunity to stop and take a few moments of gratitude.
Sun-gazing is an old method of healing. Our ancestors spoke and listened to the natural world, and one of their main daily rituals was to take time out to appreciate and worship the Sun.The Sun has gifts to offer you if you take the time to stop and lookup.
To read my blog on the 10 gifts from the Sun PLUS 5 rituals to do whilst sun-gazing PLUS get the free Sun Journal template click here >>>>>
Day 7: Find one thing in nature for each of the colours of the rainbow
There are seven colours in the rainbow. Take 15 minutes or so to go outside and see if you can find one thing in nature for each of the colours of the rainbow.
Day 8: Keep a nature journal
Nature journaling is one of the most impactful ways to connect with nature and understand the natural world deeper.
Nature is complex and full of mystery; there are new things to discover and small miracles in every corner. We just have to slow our pace of life down and our busy minds so that we can see the gifts nature has to offer us.
There are thousands of interactions within nature between birds, plants, trees, flowers, seasons, weather, insects, soil conditions, ecology, animals, and more.
All this busy flutter of activity can become overwhelming to absorb, and sitting down and writing a nature journal - can help unpack natural mysteries and make amazing discoveries.
So what is nature journaling? Nature journaling is the process of recording your observations about birds, plants, trees and other natural things on paper.
It's a simple and effective tool to help us see the big picture of the workings of the natural world - helping us grow a deeper appreciation for the entire process.
Writing down your observations in a nature journal will help you clear your mind so that you can see new perspectives on the way things are, learn new things, ask more questions, and gain a deeper level of curiosity, enthusiasm, and appreciation for the natural world.
Nature journaling will help you cultivate a more meaningful experience in the great outdoors. When nature journaling, it is best to have a solely used journal for this very purpose.
If you mix your nature journals with personal reflection journals, it's easy to get distracted and lose track of your purpose.
Having a dedicated journal that's entirely devoted to nature will help you solidify your intentions to observe and connect deeper with nature.
You can use plain paper or lined paper. You can draw pictures or write. There are no rules to journaling except to follow your internal compass. Traditionally a nature journal will have a heading at the top with the date, time of day, location and notes about the weather.
Writing down several questions is a helpful tool to include in every nature journal. Each new question invites you to looker closer, listen more profoundly, and tune into how nature affects you. Some questions you may ask are:
- What else could I observe?
- How am I feeling within?
- What is nature teaching me?
- What haven't I thought of yet?
- What would the world be like if the thing I am observing didn't exist?
- What am I curious about here?
- What do I want to know more about?
- What is nature saying to me?
Asking questions is one of the most straightforward journaling exercises you could ever do, and it has positive effects on how you tune in.
Asking yourself questions is not about pressuring yourself to find answers; it's simply about feeding your curiosity and learning more about what you are observing and experiencing.
Each new question adds yet another unique layer of perspective into the equation.
It causes you to look in a new direction and ponder the possibilities.
With practice and repetition, asking questions will help you become significantly more alert and tuned in when you step outside into nature.
Day 9: Eat 80% Whole Food Plants For An Entire Day
Slightly delayed. Sorry
Day 10: Birdwatch
Birds are fascinating creatures to watch. Some are cheeky and playful and others are more quiet and mysterious. There are roughly 10,000 species of birds across the globe; all with diverse songs, vibrant colours, personalities and migration patterns. Birds invite us to learn about them and the ecosystems they inhabit.
If you start birdwatching, you’ll start to notice the simple beauty and awe found within nature. By watching birds you will pay closer attention to the natural environment, observing the different ways each species of bird interacts with other animals, plants and even the weather systems. You will begin to understand the interconnections among all things in nature by paying attention to birds.
The thing with birds, there is always more to discover and learn, and this in itself will get you get excited to get outdoors and explore new places in nature in hope of seeing more birds. The pursuit of birds can take us to some pretty wonderful places, from a small humble nature reserve down the street, to a lush oasis in the Amazon Rainforest, or to a giant slab of sea ice in Antarctica.
Along the way, you’ll see and experience countless other natural wonders and become more connected with our beautiful planet. If you’re like me and many other bird enthusiasts, you’ll find yourself becoming a naturalist, a person who appreciates and studies many facets of nature. You will also grow an appreciation for all of life which will make you a little bit more of a conservationist.
But you don't need to travel far and wide to see impressive birds, just simply watch the ones in your backyard. Their personalities and antics will keep you entertained and wanting to know more about these colourful characters.
Spending time and energy finding and observing birds in your own backyard is great for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Looking for birds gets you outside moving, breathing in the fresh air and being invigorated by the natural elements. Even just slow carefree wandering outdoors at a relaxed pace is far better for your overall well-being than watching Netflix on your couch or sitting at a desk for hours.
Try and learn a new bird every week or even one a month. By learning about birds you are stimulating your brain in healthy ways, spending more time in the present moment and tuning into your senses more deeply so that you can observe the little details. Over time you will come to remember the names and habitats of many species. All of this keeps your brain neurons firing, which also helps up-level your own happiness through appreciation and the gradual accumulation of experiences, knowledge, and curiosity.
Day 11: Take a slow wander
There is nothing more inspiring and energising than taking a slow wander through nature, fully immersed in the natural world, following the intuitive pull of whatever experience shows up in the present moment.
Carefree nature wandering is a relaxing meditative walk that fuels the mind, body and spirit. It is not a fast paced walk where you are focused on the destination. With carefree nature wandering you simply allow yourself to fully immerse in nature, not worried about the destination and instead just focused on the journey that presents. You may sit and watch for a while. You may stop and explore something that piques your interest or you may let curiosity lead the way.
Wandering works best when you slow down, breathe in the fresh air and let go of all time limits and to-do lists. It’s about exploring and experiencing the natural world in a timeless space of watching, listening and feeling.
Here are some of my favourite practices I like to use when carefree wandering along the nature trail:
- Appreciate all of nature: Often we think in order to connect with nature we need to head deep into the vast pristine wilderness. This is not the case. You can wander around your local neighbourhood, own back yard, or the local nature reserve. No matter where you are there are little villages of diverse eco-systems and buzzing thriving habits that can be found - sometimes you just need to get quiet enough within so you can actually see it. The destination of the nature spot where you care-free wander is simply not important, as whats important is HOW you choose to engage with nature.
- Release the need to time watch. Let go of all commitments and to-do lists, allow yourself to lose track of time so that you don't feel rushed or time-stressed. Try to let go so that you can completely lose track of time, even if it’s just within a planned period of 30-60 minutes.
- Start with a 5-senses awareness meditation. Doing a meditation that focuses on all your five senses before stepping out into nature will help you tune in and connect with your natural surrounds.
- Move slowly. Use the time to really slow down and become present, breathe and walk half or even a quarter of your usual walking speed.
- Stop frequently to bring your awareness to everything you can see, hear, feel and touch, to re-engage your senses and heighten your experience.
- Follow curiosity and go off trail if possible. Pay attention to where you feel pulled to go in the moment. Release any expectations and plans you might have about what you’ll see or experience. Let your curiosity and intuition guide you.
- Savour the expanded feeling of connection to your surroundings whenever you feel it.
Day 12: Explore who's living in your backyard
To connect with nature you don’t need to visit the deepest and most secluded wilderness to experience the full benefits nature has to offer.
When people have amazing, exciting & awe-inspiring experiences outside, very often the tendency is to assume the outside world is responsible for creating that experience.
They mistakenly conclude that more secluded or rare locations are required in order to have a more profound experience.
You don't need to seek out secluded and pristine nature locations in order to have a profound experience. Connection to nature isn’t determined by where you go, or how old the trees are and how big the mountains are… rather it comes from how you choose to engage wherever you are.
Nature is just one part of the equation.
The other part is YOU!
If your busy mind and fast pace of life leads you to be distracted or internally focused as you move through nature, you won’t be able to receive the gifts nature has to offer. You want be able to hear or feel the deeper lessons of the trees, plants and birds because your awareness is focused internally.
You could be in your own back yard in the city or sitting on your inner-city balcony and if your awareness is open to experiencing your surrounds, you can have profound life changing moments of connection right there.
If you simply focus on engaging more deeply in whatever natural setting you are in, you WILL feel the effects of nature.
Sit in your own backyard or local park, watch the branches of the trees gently sway, listen to the songs of the birds, watch the lady bugs scramble on the leaves and the butterflies savouring the nectar of the flowers.
Day 13: Learn a new plant
Hold on Grasshopper - challenge not released yet.
Day 14: Bring more nature into your home
Hold on Grasshopper - challenge not released yet.