You don't have to be particularly outdoorsy to celebrate.
Photo: Energy Muse
This Earth Day, we dare you to ditch your electronics and celebrate the glory of nature (after you read this article, of course). You already know that quality time in the great outdoors boosts your health, but luckily, you don't have to get down in the dirt (unless you really want to) to honor our incredible planet.
In fact, we've compiled a list of 10 fun ways you can be one with nature and reap the emotional, mental, and physical benefits.
Have we gotten so out of touch with nature that there's literally a movement behind walking barefoot (aka "earthing" or "grounding")? Yep! However, if you've ever felt like a brand-new person after a stroll in the sand sans socks and shoes, then you totally understand the reason behind earthing's recent popularity surge.
Science shows that the practice really does help to increase energy levels and enhance our overall well-being. So this Earth Day, ditch the espresso shot and enjoy a free energy infusion à la Mother Earth!
Embrace the power of crystals.
Photo: Energy Muse
It's said that crystals have their own vibration and channel energy from the earth—but what do you actually do with them? Well, you can wear your crystal, carry it in your pocket or purse, place it on your nightstand or office desk, or meditate while holding it, according to crystal expert Heather Askinosie, co-founder of Energy Muse and coauthor of Crystal Muse. Even if you're a tad skeptical of the healing powers of Earth's most sparkly minerals, adding a little dazzle to your decor can never hurt. But first, you have to find the right crystal for you. (Related: Crystal Spa Treatments Are the Latest Beauty Trend You Need to Try)
"Either go to a local metaphysical shop or browse a crystal website and scan the shop (or page) to see what catches your eye. Which one are you drawn to? Then, read the meaning and properties of that crystal," Askinosie advises. "Nine times out of 10, you will find that the meaning of that crystal correlates to your life in some way."
Add aromatherapy to your life.
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If you haven't caught on yet, there's an essential oil for everything. Each essential oil (the highly concentrated versions of the natural oils in plants) has its own unique healing properties—and a little goes a long way. To reap their benefits, you can rub a few drops on your palms (and breathe deep...ahh!), diffuse in your home or car, wear topically, or add a few drops to a cup of Epsom salts for a fragrant, calming bath.
For those new to essential oils, certified aromatherapist and Reiki master Sharna Langlais recommends relaxing lavender, energizing orange, and grounding cedarwood as three excellent starter options. "They should all be inexpensive and easy to find at the grocery store," she says. "These oils are liked by most people, even those sensitive to scent, and are incredibly multifaceted."
Try root chakra meditation.
Unless you avoid yoga class and patchouli-scented shops like the plague, you've likely heard the concept of "chakras" tossed around. According to yogic tradition, chakras are the seven spinning wheels of energy that run throughout the body—and when these energy centers are healthy and open, so are we. Earth Day is the perfect occasion to balance your root chakra, which Langlais explains is "the energy center that governs our connection to the Earth and the physical plane, as well as our physical bodies."
Even if you're new to meditation, it's easy to connect to this elemental energy: Simply close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine vivid red roots extending down into the center of the earth. Even better if you can do this leaning against a tree. (Related: The Non-Yogi's Guide to the 7 Chakras)
Recharge with Reiki.
The meaning behind the ancient healing technique of Reiki (pronounced "ray-key") is "universal life energy." What better way to connect with nature than by tapping into that?! The practice works through a gentle "laying-on" of hands on a series of body points that increases the energy flow to areas of the body that are depleted or blocked, allowing for your energy to flow naturally. (Related: Can Reiki Help with Anxiety?)
"After a Reiki session, at a minimum, people feel simultaneously relaxed and recharged," said Langlais. Simply google "Reiki near me" to find a certified professional in your area and experience the rejuvenating effects yourself. Earth Day brownie points for asking for Reiki for the root chakra.
Start a natural beauty cabinet.
We know that decoding the real deal on what makeup products are truly organic, eco-friendly, etc., can get a little stressful. But there's no time for ~excuses~ on Earth Day, and greenifying your beauty routine is actually a fun way to get creative and refresh your look. (Get started here: How to Make the Switch to a Clean, Nontoxic Beauty Regimen)
No need to break the bank on expensive products, either. You can start small by swapping your usual lotion with coconut oil (which is basically a miracle-working moisturizer) or brightening your pearly whites with charcoal powder instead of super-abrasive strips. If you're feeling frisky, crystal egg deodorant is also a real thing—and it really works. You might just enjoy your natural beauty hacks long after the holiday is done.
Get your smudge on.
Photo: Energy Muse
Ever burn an ex's belongings and literally felt the bad energy dissipate with the smoke? No? Well, the concept of smudging your space is no different; according to Native American culture, burning sage is like taking an energetic shower. It doesn't matter where you live or how long you've lived there—Earth Day is an amazing time to bless your space and welcome positive new vibes.
Here's how it works: Pick up a sage bundle at your local health food store, and place your sage in a fireproof bowl. Light the bundle with a candle until it begins to smoke, and then use your hand (or a feather if you wanna really get into it) to waft smoke into all four corners of the room. Once you're satisfied, extinguish your sage and enjoy the newly elevated juju in your home.
Do some "sole" searching.
Self-massage is an essential part of Ayurveda, an ancient system of natural healing that gives extra reverence to the feet. Even if you don't subscribe to the belief that the body and soul are connected to your soles, you can probably agree that your feet could use a little love. Massaging your own feet is an excellent way to reconnect with your earth energy and ground yourself. Plus, why limit yourself to a few fleeting seconds of joy when the pedicure lady works her foot massage magic? (Related: 5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Ayurveda Into Your Life)
To treat your soles, briefly warm a teaspoon of oil (sesame, sunflower, or almond oil are all great options) in the microwave and then pour the warm oil into your hands. Take your time rubbing in the oil and massage between your toes, slowly pulling each toe away from the body. After massaging, soak your feet in warm salt water. Your feet will thank you.
Indulge in a forest bath.
Even if you live in the city—in fact, especially if you live in the city—you can pull off a "forest bath" to reconnect with nature. First, shake off whatever woo-woo image may be forming in your mind; your clothes aren't going anywhere. The traditional Japanese practice is as easy as it sounds: Find a local park or woods and take a stroll, engaging your five senses along the way. (Related: I Tried Forest Bathing In Central Park)
Forest bathing is meant to be mindful (no power-walking), so just enjoy the opportunity to slow down and soak up the sights, smells, and sounds surrounding you. Studies show that just looking at photos of natural landscapes immediately reduces stress, so taking a real-life stroll only multiplies the mood-boosting benefits. In fact, many spas are even adding forest bathing to their list of rejuvenating offerings.
Try Kundalini yoga.
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Heads up: Kundalini yoga is not your typical flow class. This style of yoga blends intense breath work, chanting, hand gestures, and movement with the purpose of achieving your maximum creative potential and experiencing a spiritual transformation. It centers on the belief that there's a powerful kundalini energy stored in the base of the spine, waiting to be awakened.
Though it might sound a little hippie-dippie, kundalini is an amazing way to get your glow on without ~working out~ in the traditional sense (read: get off the treadmill). And we have to mention that the breath work does wonders for skin that looks insanely fresh and lit from within.