What is Rewilding for Humans?
Posted on March 29 2020
Say you were dropped off into the wilderness for 30 days without food, water, shelter. There's no phone signal, so you can't call for help. No Wi-Fi so you can't Google, "How to survive in the wilderness". You just have you and whatever wilderness skills and knowledge you have accumulated in your lifetime. How would you do?
If you're like most of the modern population, you would be petrified without much of a clue of what to do. Most of us just don't have those skills anymore.
With a small exception, most people are moving from a building to their car back into a building. Even exercising is mostly reserved for indoors. We are ignoring the glaring fact that we are animals that evolved to be in the sunshine.
How Did the Rewilding Movement Start?
One of the biggest misconceptions we have as humans in modern western society is that we are separate from nature, rather than an intricate part of the whole. We talk about nature as though it is something outside of us. This couldn't be further from the truth.
There is no doubt that the industrial age and the technology age have improved our lives, but one of the drawbacks is that we seem to think we are above nature. While the invention of the internet gives us access to so much information at our fingertips, it simply is not a substitute for the wisdom that comes from within.
In simple terms, we've become domesticated animals. This isn't all bad; there are undoubtedly some good things that have come along with this. However, there is no denying that our modern lifestyles are also taking a toll on our mental and physical health.
That's where rewilding for humans comes in.
What began as a movement to restore balance to the ecosystems by cultivating wilderness areas and reintroducing native plants and animals has created an offshoot which promotes ditching your digital gadgets and embracing the natural rhythms of life. It operates under the notion that we are wild animals, a part of nature and embracing this aspect of ourselves improves our overall health and well being.
How Do You Rewild?
As with most movements, there is a spectrum to rewilding. It can be as full or part-time as you want to make it. This isn't exactly a new movement either, although it is experiencing a boom in interest as society is realizing there is no substitute for nature.
Full time looks like leaving your 9 - 5 for greener pastures, literally. This is your off-gridders and survivalists. Those who go to live off the land and never look back.
What part-time looks like can vary from person-to-person. It may be as drastic as taking a few months of a year to live outside. Or it might look like going on a walk for your lunch break.
How Can I Rewild Myself?
This post is mainly for the latter. If you're looking to get a little wilder in your everyday life here are some tips to get you going:
Join a foraging class. Foraging has received a surge in popularity over recent years. It is a way to connect to the nature around you by being able to identify what plants are edible.
Take a camping trip or attend a rewilding retreat. Whether solo, with family, or friends, taking even just a few days to live in the great outdoors can refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
Unplug. Make a commitment to yourself to turn off your phone or any other device at least an hour before bed. Even better, put your phone in a different room of the house while you sleep. Many people report having more restful sleep when their phone is in a different room.
Rise with the sun. This simple lifestyle shift has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which allows you to start your day off in a better mood. Artificial lights have allowed us the opportunity to stay up as late as we want. But just because you can, does that mean that you should?
Ground yourself. Remember when you were a child and you wouldn't give a second thought to running around barefoot? Whether you knew it or not, you were practicing grounding. Take 30 minutes of your day to walk barefoot on the earth. There are many benefits to grounding, including improving sleep, reducing inflammation, lessening stress and much more.
Take your exercise routine outdoors. Our ancestors didn't intentionally work out. It was just their way of life. Spend less time trying to drag yourself to the gym, and get yourself moving around outdoors. Not only will you experience the physical benefits of working out, but you will also be breathing in cleaner air and soaking in vitamin D.
Plant a garden. Feeling your hands in the soil, planting seeds and nurturing them into plants can be quite rewarding as well as boost your mood while getting more sunshine.
Whatever you choose to do is not really important. The main point is to get outside and reestablish your connection to nature.