Just as the sun continues to grow stronger each day, sparking the energy in plants all around us to bud and bloom, it’s natural for many people to experience a quiet awakening deep inside themselves. This isn’t a coincidence, since spring is universally recognized in cultures around the world as the transitional season of rebirth and renewal. It’s an ideal time for exploring the possibilities of new beginnings.

Consider it to be sort of like the childhood stage of the seasonal life cycle, where getting outside can invoke a genuine sense curiosity and desire to learn and grow. One of the best ways to tap into that pure and innocent childlike self that wants to come out and play is to simply take a leisurely walk through a park or wooded area where we can mindfully experience the awe of life blooming before our very eyes.

Doing this can inspire us to ask ourselves questions like, “what urges or ideas do I have inside of myself that need to be explored?” and, “what have I been afraid of pursuing in the past that I feel I finally need to start?” We can even ask more specific questions about how we might explore new ways of having fun, improving our health, building new relationships, altering our career paths or rejuvenating other areas of our lives.

As we use this time to work on exploring different ways that we can renew ourselves, let us remember to also dig deeper to identify any leftover negativity that may still be looming from the winter or fall. The light, warmth and aliveness of spring can help ground us in the present moment so we can meditate on anything we may still be unconsciously carrying around with us that needs to be felt more deeply or perhaps even addressed more actively before it can be completely released.

Keep in mind that connecting deeply with nature doesn’t have to stop at getting outside a little more often and reaping the benefits of personal renewal. In fact, we could all take this time of year to act as a firm reminder to be a little more grateful for this planet we call home. Showing our love and appreciation by continuously taking small actions that add up to a healthier environment not only brings us closer to creating a more sustainable planet, but also invites mores positive energy into our lives.

Easy ways to start making more eco-friendly decisions include starting a compost, turning off lights and electronics when they’re not in use, switching to organic/non-toxic products and cutting back on buying items with packaging materials that are destined to end up in the trash. Joining a local environmental organization that needs volunteers to help clean up local lands, rivers and streams of garbage and debris is another great way to work on inner growth and help the environment at the same time.

There are endless amounts of ways we can connect closer with nature, and everyone will have their own personal preferences for how they go about doing so. Whatever your plan is to make the most out of the time you spend outdoors and the things you do to give back to the environment, be sure make it count!