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What Is Rewilding? + 7 Easy Ways to Rewild

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What is rewilding? Could it be the missing piece in health, happiness, and fulfillment?

Find out why I am obsessed with the concept of human rewilding lately and why I think it’s important for people who are unhealthy or unhappy. Note: This post contains affiliate links.

how to rewild

Even though the concept of rewilding is seemingly new, the idea has been around for some time now. And in my opinion, it is directly related to health, happiness, and fulfillment. But what is human Rewilding?

I know, it sounds weird. I used to be a fitness blogger, so this seems like a weird combo. (P.S. Let me be clear – I am talking about human rewilding right now.)

But did you know that the fitness industry really only started to take hold in the 1970s?

Why is that?

In my opinion, it’s because people were healthier before then.

I mean, there’s no arguing that since the 1960s, America has gotten collectively fatter and sicker. And it’s been at its worst in the last two decades, with no signs of slowing down.

(Read about the rise in obesity throughout the decades here.)

Why?

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but here are the biggest problems. Americans are:

  • Spending less and less time outside
  • Spending more time sitting
  • Looking at screens more than ever, leading to less time moving
  • Sleeping poorly
  • Doing less – hiring people to do things like mow the lawn or take the dog for a walk
  • Spending less time in real, face-to-face conversations
  • Eating more processed food
  • Growing less of their own food
  • Just doing less themselves in general

Americans are doing less and relying on technology more than ever. Skills are being lost. And those skills, which kept us moving and learning, are what burnt more calories. Or they are what kept us eating fresh veggies. Hopefully you get the idea.

ways to rewild yourself
Even my kiddos enjoy our annual hunting trips!

Even my kiddos enjoy our annual hunting trips!

Benefits of Rewilding

Remember those warm summer days in the 90’s (or earlier) when we didn’t have phones and tablets? I personally spent countless hours outside, playing, riding bikes, picking berries, or working! I only came inside for lunch, water, or to go to the bathroom.

At the end of the day, I not only felt great after expending so much energy, I slept great. I got plenty of Vitamin D, and had plenty of time with friends or family. I don’t know quite how to describe it, other than my “cup was full” and I felt very fulfilled. It was all very wholesome and idyllic.

But where did that feeling go? Did it fade with adulthood, or did it fade as we became a society that is out of touch with nature and real relationships?

But what is the basic idea behind rewilding? In my opinion, it’s simply returning to what was intended for humans. We were meant to have a close relationship with nature and each other (other humans). I think we were meant to be a lot more connected and interdependent. We also weren’t meant to rely so heavily on technology.

If you’re here today, maybe you already have an inkling of the benefits of rewilding. 

While there aren’t many studies on human rewilding, we know that there ARE studies done on the benefits of many related topics. There are countless studies on the relationship between spending time outside and stress/cortisol, Vitamin D, and happiness. There are also studies about gardening, exercise, and overall health.

So, if we take steps to rewild ourselves, we can assume that we will benefit in similar ways. What are the benefits of Rewilding? Let’s get started with a small but mighty list.

hunting for rewilding
My son Sawyer on his first hunting trip at 8 months old.

Potential Benefits of Human Rewilding Include:

  • Lowered cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Overall improvement of mood
  • Steadier/healthier mental health
  • Weight loss, which can have even more benefits
  • Overall increased happiness
  • Increased fertility
  • Better relationships
  • Lowered carbon footprint
  • Overall feeling of contentedness

Ways To Rewild

Now that you know what rewilding is, let’s go a bit further. Since the concept of rewilding entails more than ways to rewild yourself, I also want to touch on how to rewild your garden and how to rewild your home in general. Of course, nothing here is black-and-white.

My level of rewilding myself might look different than yours, depending on your values, goals, and many other factors (like your environment). I am personally super interested in homesteading, gardening, and other self-sufficient ideas, so I might take my personal human rewilding a little further.

human rewilding & ways to rewild

7 Easy Ways To Rewild

1. Spend more time outside.

It’s simple, and you already know you should, so this is among the easiest of rewilding examples. But if you want to go above and beyond, the key here is to try to spend more time outside in natural areas.

That means that you should go out to a lake, river, wooded area, mountain, etc. Spend time looking at the natural scenery and breathing it in.

2. Learn to forage.

It doesn’t actually have to be super complicated – but the earth has so much to offer! Even common garden plants and “weeds” are edible and medicinal. Pick up a book about foraging in your local area, then set out to learn. This is my go-to foraging resource for the Pacific Northwest region of America (I’m in Oregon). You’ll need to be able to accurately identify plants before you try them, of course! Once you are nice and knowledgable, expand into the forest or wilder areas. It’s a very natural and primal thing!

3. Learn to garden.

One of the easiest ways to rewild. Even if you live in an apartment, you can learn to grow a few things, even if it’s in containers. In my opinion, everyone should have the experience of growing something that they will later consume.

Not only can it be an important skill from a prepping perspective, it can also be very fulfilling. Plus, think about the microbes! Read my tips for starting a vegetable garden  (and how gardening benefits your health), then get started with your own small garden.

Already have a garden and looking for how to rewild your garden? Stick to DIY compost for fertilizer, omit anything that isn’t organic, and skip the tilling!

4. Learn to fish or hunt.

If you are truly interested in ways to rewild, you’ll want to learn to fish, hunt, or both. I didn’t grow up doing much hunting, but I did occasionally try fishing. Then I married into a hunting family. And, while I’m not a hunter myself, I can now understand the appeal.

I love to spend 7+ days in the forest without cell service, and I love participating in the “searching” part of the hunt, too. Nothing makes you feel more connected to nature than eating something pure and wild, having to warm yourself with a fire, and watching the sun rise and set in the great outdoors.

Related Reading: Hunting With Kids – 11 Tips For Family Hunting

5. Limit your screen time.

This is always a tough balance, especially for a blogger like myself. However, I do notice that I feel clearer mentally and happier emotionally when I set screen-time limits. (My kids are also totally different people when they have zero screens, lol.)

Spend more time doing things, more time talking to people, and less time on screens. Simple, difficult, worth it.

6. Try making your own natural products.

Not always easy, but it can be super simple if you do it right. There is a huge essential-oil/homesteading/DIY thing happening right now and I love it. I don’t suggest overhauling your whole life in one week, but you can switch to natural cleaning and self-care products over time.

I personally find it easy to make natural cleaning sprays etc., but it’s harder to go that way with self-care. Here’s an easy all-purpose cleaner recipe. An easy thing to do is to start ditching the really bad chemicals.

Start by ditching perfume/cologne, and make the switch to natural deodorants. You can read about one really bad chemical group, parabens, and their effects in this post.

7. Cook from scratch.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but why don’t we do it more often? When I say “cook from scratch,” I don’t mean taking a frozen pizza out instead of ordering it for delivery. I mean making the dough out of yeast, flour, & salt!

Some things that sound hard to make aren’t, once you learn! It turns out that making cheese, butter, yogurt, bread, and more is pretty easy once you have a solid recipe. Cooking from scratch is a SKILL these days! And not only is it often cheaper, it also cuts down on added chemicals/preservatives in our food.

You don’t have to go full-prepper by home canning everything. Just start with one simple recipe (like this recipe for old-fashioned white bread) and go from there.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits of rewilding and ways to rewild yourself! Hopefully now you feel confident in answering if ever asked, “What is rewilding?”

Do you have more rewilding examples you want to share with us? Have more thoughts on ways to rewild at home?

Share them by leaving a comment below! 

– Chantal

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