Into The Well-derness: 5 Books To Help You Reconnect With Nature

Updated: Apr 27

Research shows that spending time in nature can help reduce stress, depression and anger; lower anxiety and blood pressure; increase self-esteem, empathy and kindness; improve sleep; calm the nervous system; boost creativity and even improve immunity.

So when it comes to self-care and wellbeing, getting outside into natural green spaces for a couple of hours a week is a must.

Here are my top 5 books to help you reconnect with nature and get some eco-therapy:

1. The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us - Emma Mitchell

Having suffered with depression for 25 years, Emma Mitchell began to diarise her experiences when she began to take walks in the countryside around her new home. This beautiful book is hand-illustrated with wonderful drawings of the wild treasures Emma found when out walking.

She describes how the time she spends in nature impacts her, detailing her highs and her lows, and relating it to the science of how nature impacts our bodies and minds. It is an honest account of the impact of mental health issues on every day life and an insight into how we might begin to heal ourselves and our connection to nature.

2.. The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals - Adele Nozedar

I have always loved being outside and especially in naturally wild places, and my study of positive psychology taught me the benefits of savouring the experience and being mindful.

So I naturally pay close attention to the flora I see on my travels and developed a keen interest in foraging. I'm not an expert by any means, (and I'll never trust a wild mushroom!) but this book has helped me develop my knowledge and love of wild ingredients. We've tried elderberry syrup flu remedy, sloe gin and port, pineapple weed tea and blackberry leaf tea too. Watermint is amazing and I highly recommend adding borage flowers to salads.

3.. Dark Skies: A Journey Into The Wild Night - Tiffany Francis

If you have any interest in the night sky and how our human fascination with the stars and other cosmic phenomena has changed over time, this is the book for you.

It is a wonderful blend of Tiffany Francis' personal experience and contemplation, with mythology, history, folklore, science, geography, and art and literature exploring our connection to the night sky and darkness. It can help you explore how to find joy, awe and wonder in the nocturnal landscape and let go of our fear of darkness, shadow and night.

4.. Forest Therapy: Seasonal Ways To Embrace Nature For A Happier You - Sarah Ivens

This book is about getting back to nature, making the most of the great outdoors, being mindful of Mother Nature's gifts and grabbing spring and summer by the conkers.

With chapters like 'A Walk In The Woods', 'Parenting in Plein Air' and 'Couples' Countryside Cure', there is something for everyone. Sarah Ivens talks you through the science and practical activities in an easy to follow and humorous way, delivering the research without taking everything too seriously. There are playlist, flowers to look out for and food ideas for the seasons, helping you to be mindful and savour your experiences.

5. The Enchanted Life: Unlocking The Magic Of The Everyday - Sharon Blackie

This is arguable one of my favourite books of all time. It is steeped in mindfulness and awareness, encouraging us to reconnect with the world around us and experience 'the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary'.

It has nothing to do with escapism or magical thinking, but instead encourages us to go back to our roots and spend more time doing the things that nourish our hearts and souls. It's about finding meaning and connection in our wild world and it provides the tools and guidance we need to explore our own relationship with the landscapes we live in; encouraging us to live playfully, creatively and ethically.

I have read it several times, but I always find some new insight and intuition that I haven't had before and it always brings me back to myself.

Bonus Book!

Okay, so I know I said 5 books, but what's the point in being outside if you can't identify the flowers?

6. Wild Flowers Of Britain & Europe - Collins Nature Guide by W. Lippert & D. Podlech

This book is small enough to fit in your pocket and is helpfully divided by flower colour to make identification easier. The photos are hugely helpful in identifying wild flowers, as is the description, detailing habitat, flowering season and similar species, among other things.

I know you are probably thinking, 'I'll just use my phone', but then you will be tempted to have a quick check for other things, which will bring you out of the moment. Take this opportunity to go analogue and just embrace the inevitable papercuts. It will be worth it.

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