Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

No, you didn’t just mis-read the labels in the vitamin isle… Vitamin N refers to Nature. In our busy lives it’s difficult to remember the importance and value of spending time in nature.

My close friends know I’m pretty into Grounding or Earthing and if there’s grass in the area, you’re gonna catch me with my shoes off to soak in the rich goodness of the Earth’s energy.

But don’t worry, I’m not asking you to go full blown hippie. Just sharing a few tips to entice you to experience the benefits of immersing yourself in nature.

And I’m not just talking about Vitamin D.

I’m talking about the full immersion of sight, smell, sound, and touch… that energetic buzz you get when hiking through a wooded area. (Heard of Forest Bathing?). The feeling of being transported to another world when walking with your toes in the sand listening to the crashing tide. Or in my current state, sitting on the shore of Lake Austin surrounded by oak trees watching sunlight dance like glitter off the ripples as the water meets the shore.

You breathe deeper. You let go. You are taken out of the auto-pilot chaos of the day to day lives we lead.

I’m no doc, but from what I’ve experienced and researched, getting your fulfillment of Vitamin N can:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression

  • Lower your blood pressure and pulse rate

  • Reduce bodily tension

  • Increase your energy and focus

  • Increase sleep quality

  • Improve eyesight (especially if you’re staring at a screen all day)

  • Improve creativity (you’re giving your mind a break from the chaos of the day and stimulating it with the color green, which has been shown to ignite creativity)

  • Provide an overall sense of calm and contentment

But, you probably know these things already. You’ve experienced them.

Here’s how I get in my Vitamin N.

I stare at a computer screen typing or in meetings for about 8 hours a day. Between meetings when perhaps I’d want to grab a coffee, instead, I go into my backyard, take my shoes off, and stand or sit for about 8-10 min. Not only does this let my eyes adjust from my computer or phone screen, it also immediately slows my nervous system down and I can’t help but take longer, deeper breaths. An automatic calming effect and simultaneous energy boost to tackle the rest of my date.

On weekends (or week night evenings) I make a point to get a lil hike in at an untamed swatch of land a few miles from my house that’s now a protected park.

I dedicate one day a month to a digital detox where I leave the phone and computer behind and dedicate my day to being present in nature.

I’ll take a rigorous hike (with friends or solo), or spend time in sweet silence and contemplation down by the lake or river.

The centering effects are beyond measurable.

I could use more Vitamin N myself… it’s one of those things we always say we should do more of, but it often falls down the list (due to our auto-pilot mode) and is reserved for special occasions like vacations or when that one friend forces you to go on a hike.

But you can get this natural high any time.

Not everyone has the luxury to work from home most of the time or live in a place like Austin where green earth and tree-filled hikes are easily accessible. So how the hell are you supposed to get more nature into your life? Here are some tips.

  • Fill your workspace with plants (eye candy and fresh oxygen!)

  • Get outside during the work day; take your lunch in a green space (shoes off preferred)

  • If you have a morning centering, journaling, or yoga practice, try taking it outside

  • Engage with nature on your outdoor adventure… pick up a flower and really look at it, examine the bark of a tree, touch a rock and feel it’s texture and weight   

  • Challenge yourself to find a new hiking spot or natural area in your town once a month & make it a date with friends if you don’t want to go solo

  • Let kids be your guide here… notice how they take off their shoes and dive into their natural surroundings…. then go for it… we can’t let kiddos have all the fun

I invite you to try any or all of these tips so you can reconnect with nature in a way that’s realistic for your lifestyle. Getting out of your typical routine alone will activate your brain in a new way.

Two quick pro tips to end on:

  • First off, you have to actually do it. Take the time, ideally bake it into your routine.

  • Secondly, you need to be present. Aware. Conscious.

If you’re in the Vitamin N zone and you’re spending your time snapping pictures, checking your phone, or thinking about the next thing on your agenda, you’re missing the medicine.

I challenge you to leave your cell phone behind. BE there. Stop. Sit. Listen. Breathe. Drink it all in. You will see things differently. You will hear things differently. You will feel a shift in your body if you take the time to be present in the experience. It’s magical.

Try it… let your own feelings, emotions, and neurological response be your evidence. Don’t just trust what I say.

Let me know how you’re getting your daily, weekly, or monthly dose of Vitamin N! I’m curious and always inspired by your ideas and experiences. Drop me a note or comment below.