5 Must-Have Sustainable Living Apps
Top recommendations for sustainable living apps that can transform your lifestyle and contribute to a more sustainable future.
June brings the arrival of The Wildlife Trusts‘ 30 Days Wild campaign. This year, the entire Ailuna team is taking part. So we’ve put together 30 ideas for 30 Days Wild to help inspire you and ourselves to get outside and connect with nature.
8 minutes to read
30 Days Wild is an initiative by the UK Wildlife Trusts to help connect us with nature every day in June. Families, businesses, schools and groups take part every year, aiming to do something that has a positive effect on wellbeing, health, on wildlife, or on the planet.
We’ve tried to keep our ideas as simple and quick as possible, as we at Ailuna believe that to build good habits and make them stick, starting small is key.
Getting outside and close to nature can have huge benefits for our mental health and general mood. Our 30 Days Wild ideas for wellbeing encourage getting fresh air, practising mindfulness and slowing down, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day.
Eating outside, particularly if you spend all day working indoors, is a fantastic way of boosting your mood, reducing fatigue, switching off from screen time and generally relaxing. An added bonus if you have children (or if you’re a messy eater yourself) is that you don’t have to sweep the floor afterwards!
If it’s raining, throw open all the windows instead and listen to the raindrops as you eat.
Our favourite time to listen to the birds singing is first thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day has started, or at dusk, when everything is quietening down for the evening. Just spending 5 minutes sitting or laying outside with your eyes closed can help relax and revive you.
Just as listening to birdsong is good for the soul, so is stargazing. I find this especially calming after a stressful day. Simply looking out at the vast, twinkling expanse helps me relax and reconnect with the outdoors.
Writing things down is a proven way to help put any worries out of your mind and onto paper. So why not write a list of everything that’s worrying you to help ease the load, and then get creative with a nature poem.
Need some inspiration? Try looking at these short poems about nature for some ideas.
Craft activities of all kinds can help to alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and boost mental wellbeing.
So, combine craft and nature by trying a nature-inspired activity. This list of nature crafts is aimed at children but there are plenty of ideas that are suitable for any age. A lot of these involve reusing or upcycling items you already have around the house, which is a tick in the eco box, too!
Whichever TV or streaming service you have access to, there are nature documentaries available to you. Pick one involving a country or creature you’re particularly interested in. Alternatively, find a subject you know nothing about, so you can watch and learn.
You don’t need to go for a long hike to feel the benefits of being barefoot. It’s been scientifically proven that walking barefoot outside, also known as “earthing” can have a great effect on our wellbeing. These include sleeping better, reducing stress levels and even boosting your immune system! Just make sure you assess any potential risks to avoid injuries.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or have an expensive camera to benefit from photographing your surroundings. Most mobile phones have excellent cameras that allow you to take beautiful nature photographs. Taking photos of flowers, leaves and insects up close helps us focus on details and appreciate their beauty (just don’t get stung by anything by getting TOO close!). If you don’t own a phone then any camera will be fine. If you don’t own a camera, why not take a sketchbook and try drawing what you see instead.
Find an open space, whether that’s your garden, a beach or the local park or woodland. Then using all of your senses, try to notice everything. Smell the flowers, freshly cut grass or the aroma of a neighbour’s BBQ in the air. Taste edible plants or flowers, being careful to only eat things you absolutely know are safe to eat. If in doubt, keep it out. Or, if you’re invited, eat something from aforementioned neighbours BBQ! See insects crawling in the grass, the clouds moving across the sky and flowers moving in the breeze. Hear birds singing, music playing in the distance, children playing, or nearby traffic noise. Touch the bark on different trees, dip your hand in a flowing river, feel the warm path or loose gravel beneath your feet.
Then think about how it all makes you feel. This is a great way to feel connected to your surroundings and really take the time to take things in that you might not usually notice.
Whatever means you use to travel to work, school or even for your weekly shop, try taking the scenic route.
Instead of using the motorway, try to plan a route that takes in some local scenery or country lanes. If you walk, cycle or take public transport, try a slightly different route or go through the local park, to see what else is on your doorstep that you might not have noticed before.
Re-establishing or continuing our connection with the outdoors and with nature can bring fantastic perks for our physical health, too. Try our 30 Days Wild ideas for health to boost endorphins and get your heart pumping.
Even 20 minutes of gentle walking each day has health benefits. It’s known to boost your mood, ease joint pain, improve energy levels and reduce stress. If you have limited mobility, switch this one out for just spending time outdoors, moving as much as is comfortable.
If you’re able to, a 30 minute brisk walk each day helps to improve muscle tone, strengthen the heart and burn calories.
There is a reason children love climbing trees. The feeling of being up high, looking at things from a different perspective is exciting! Pulling your own bodyweight up a tree is also a great workout that gets the heart pumping and the muscles working. Just make sure you don’t get stuck up there!
Find a secluded spot in your local park or woodland, pop on your headphones and dance like nobody is watching. If you’re usually self-conscious on the dancefloor, I promise the local pigeons won’t be judging your skills.
Many yoga poses mimic the shapes of animals or other things you’ll find in nature. So whether you’re a beginner or more experienced, practising yoga outside has fantastic health benefits as well as helping you connect with the earth and the outdoors.
There are many benefits to swimming in the wild, whether that’s a lake, the sea or a river. Cold water swimming boosts endorpins, helps repair muscles and improves blood flow.
This guide from Wild Swimming UK covers everything you need to know if you’re new to wild swimming.
If you don’t fancy totally immersing yourself, even a paddle in natural waters is invigorating and fun.
Enjoy a natural, outdoor gym, allocating different areas to different exercises. For example, stretch in a sunny glade, do 5 squats at every tree along the track, bench press on a stile or bench or step-ups on a fallen tree.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a complete beginner, there are plenty of ways you can get involved with growing. Whether you have children or not, our children’s gardening ideas are simple yet satisfying for all ages. Or, if your outside space is limited, why not try starting your own edible windowsill garden.
The physical benefits of gardening include working various muscles, as well as having a calming effect. There’s something for everyone to do in the garden, too, so it can be a truly inclusive experience.
Another activity that’s usually seen to be for children but is so much fun and a great workout, too!
For inspiration, have a look at these outdoor den building ideas. Then crawl in with a book and curl up in your new hideaway.
Forest bathing originated in Japan and involved being quiet and calm within the trees, whilst deep breathing or meditating.
This guide to forest bathing from Forestry England has all the information you need to get started and will also help you locate your nearest woodland.
Camping not only brings you closer to nature, but also encourages a focus on outdoor pursuits, like kayaking, cycling and hiking. All of which are excellent ways to boost your health.
So pack up your gear (or head out into the garden with your tent!) and spend a night or two in nature.
One of the biggest benefits of the 30 Days Wild challenge is encouraging us to do our bit for wildlife and for the planet. Our final 10 days of 30 Days Wild ideas are dedicated to planet and animal-friendly activities.
A litter pick can either be simply taking a rubbish bag out on a walk with you, or an organised community activity with many people involved. Organised litter picks and beach cleans are a great way of both helping the planet and getting to know like-minded people in your local area. Solo litter picks are immensely satisfying as you know that everything you take away with you at the end of the day is all your own hard work.
Do whatever suits your lifestyle best, but always remember to wear rubber gloves. You never know what you might need to pick up.
You can buy a bird feeder for less that £5 online. All you need to do is fill it, hang it and watch who decides to visit your garden for a snack!
Giving your garden birds access to food year-round can help them store energy for the more difficult colder months, and when they have young to take care of. More and more species visit bird feeders every year. So keep an eye out for any birds you’ve not seen before!
Yes, that’s right. Slugs can be your friends too. As irritating as it is to find your veggie patch destroyed by slugs overnight, they’re actually a really important part of the ecosystem.
Slugs provide food for many other creatures, including hedgehogs, toads and thrushes. So removing them can be really harmful.
Rather than killing them (in ways we won’t cover here), try heading outside after dark, plucking them off your lettuces and putting them on your compost heap or over the hedge. We don’t recommend the latter if your neighbours also have veggie patches as you may end up with more slug friends than human friends.
Wildflowers are beautiful but that isn’t their only benefit. They are an essential food source and habitat for wildlife, particularly bees and butterflies. They also contribute to a healthy diversity of species in the area in which they grow.
You can buy packets of mixed wildflower seeds online or in most garden centres and even supermarkets. They’re definitely one of the most low maintenance things you can grow. This is because they can be grown on a tiny scale in even the smallest garden, or sown more widely to create a beautiful wildflower meadow. British native wildflowers aren’t picky about the soil they’re sown in so you can put them wherever you have space and it’s likely they’ll thrive.
Even if you live in the middle of a city, there will be species’ that are in need of recording.
Recording a species is a way of keeping tabs on the population of wildlife on a local or national level. There are lots of resources available and if you’re interested in recording wildlife, the National Biodiversity Network has created a great guide.
An insect hotel is another great way to attract wildlife to your garden. Simply put, it’s a man-made structure that provides lots of dark spaces and little nooks for all kinds of insects to call home.
According to this guide from the RHS, insect hotels can be made from upcycled or reclaimed materials. So you’re helping the planet in multiple ways!
For an even more budget-friendly option, a pile of leaves in a shady corner can become a great hiding place for insects.
If you read our post on food waste reduction, you may remember that food and garden waste in landfill is actually worse for the planet than plastic.
In contrast, composting is one of the most beneficial things you can do in your home for the environment.
Composting helps save money, saves processing and collection resources for local councils, and can help improve your soil.
To start composting and learn how to get the right mix of materials for the most nutrient-rich compost, have a look at this BBC guide.
Collecting rainwater is an excellent way to reduce your water consumption and help the planet.
Collecting water reduces demand on the public water supply and it can help keep your garden healthy during times of drought or water shortage. It is also very satisfying knowing that even if you’re stuck indoors on a rainy day, at least your water butt is filling up!
As well as for watering your garden, you can use collected rainwater to fill up a birdbath to go alongside your new bird feeder.
Have a look at our recent post on how to save 1,600 litres of water in a week to find out more.
A seedbomb is a little ball of seeds from various plants, contained within a “carrier” of compost or clay. They are really useful for introducing plants and flowers to hard-to-reach areas and small spaces.
They can be used anywhere, from window boxes to grass verges and even the roof of your shed!
The Wildlife Trusts have a fantastic guide to making and distributing seedbombs to get you off to a colourful start.
Tree planting is something that has become a symbol for doing good for the planet. Many companies now donate to tree planting schemes and there are groups of people actively planting millions of trees a year in a bid to help clean our polluted air and to help to repair the planet.
Planting a tree is also a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, the birth of a child or an anniversary. With each year that passes you tree will change and grow and remind you of whatever reason you planted it for.
Even if you only have a windowsill or small balcony, you can still grow trees (just not big ones!) in containers.
If you’re planting a tree that will grow to be very big in years to come, make sure you check the regulations on how close to buildings your tree can be.
Some of the best trees to plant are fruit trees. Apple trees provide plenty of fruit each year and cherry trees are famous for their beautiful blossom. Or why not try something completely different and grow an avocado tree from the stone inside your shop-bought avocado. Just remember that avocado trees must be kept inside in the winter.
Just because we have lots of ideas of our own, doesn’t mean we don’t want more! Please let us know if you’re taking part in the challenge, who you’re doing it with and your own wild suggestions. And remember to share your wild activities on social media using #30dayswild and #ailunacommunity.
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