It seems that every generation spends more time indoors than the one before. We sit more, we spend more time looking at devices, and we fail to experience the world around us. If you’re looking for a way to increase your outdoor time and make it more meaningful, check out Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s book, Rooted (Hachette Book Group, 256 pages).
In this book, Haupt shares her own experiences with the outdoors and suggests making the most of your time outside. Connecting with nature is not only fun and relaxing, but it can also provide substantial benefits for our mental health. In a time when stress and anxiety are high, caring for ourselves is more important than ever.
Haupt suggests enjoying nature to the fullest by walking barefoot. This seems odd at first. We’ve made so many advances in the technology of shoes, why would we take them off? Isn’t it dangerous to walk around outdoors barefoot? Haupt will be the first to tell you that you shouldn’t suddenly ditch shoes entirely and walk around town barefoot. However, there’s a difference between your backyard and an urban construction site.
As Haupt explains, walking barefoot through nature can improve foot health when done right. In addition, it provides a different way to experience the world around us. We feel the soil beneath our toes and the plants that are growing on the ground. We might even think about the wriggling bugs scurrying through the dirt beneath us or the animals that are also walking or landing nearby. When we touch the earth with our bare feet, we feel connected to the planet. This is the beginning of being rooted.
Reconnecting with the earth is a major theme of the book. We often think about the ways we shape the earth. Haupt asks us to consider how it shapes us. She encourages us to consider our past relationship with nature, including the joy of being a child outdoors, and then compare that to our current relationship (or lack thereof).
How to regain some of that sense of wonder? She suggests we begin by getting outdoors and learning about the plant life and animals in our environment. For all of Haupt’s suggestions, check out her book at your local library because reusers love the library!