As the rules of isolation constantly intensify people are slowly losing their access to nature, the one perk many were claiming was making it manageable. So this blog post will start a series of articles to help you find that connection, that we all need so badly – now more than ever.
If you have no or almost no, access to the outdoors, I suggest some of the following ideas to help you bring the outside in, no matter what the four walls around you look like. There are advantages to viewing nature even when access is limited so try some of these out as they are meant to bring you some solace during challenging times.
– Do a scan of your home at several times of the day to find the brightest rooms, best views. largest landscapes and even different styles of landscapes. The reason being is different windows and access points can serve different moods and purposes.
– The sun may shine in one room in the morning and a different room in the afternoon. Find a work space, rest space or workout spot based on the time of day you want to do it and where the most light comes in. Yes, you can get a sunburn through a window (although the sun is not very intense right now). And even if on a sunny day it seems too bright just remember your eyes and body may adjust, it just may seem extreme at first compared to the artificial light you have been exposed to.
– That light; the sun – your skin and your eyes want to absorb that, even if it is through a window. It can change a mood faster than you know and make work, or a workout seem worth the effort just to be there. And know that many health clinics in other parts of the world have sun rooms, with large comfy chairs that expose patients to natural light through the windows. So set up your favourite chair, rearrange your living room furniture or move a bed to make every possible exposure serve you now for all the things you do during the day.
– Even more than just seeking light and sunshine, sometimes a certain view can help a mood. If you are feeling trapped or too isolated, then an open view of a field or park or even lawn can provide and open feeling of freedom, helping to decrease more negative emotions. If you are feeling lonely or scared, then trees, forest and gardens can help ease that emotion just a little.
– Beyond the view you are looking at consider your activity. I move my laptop around my house to compensate for the weather, what I am working on or the time of day. I know the room that feels the brightest on a dreary day or when I need a large workspace, I can spread out on a big table but orientate it to look out my patio doors. And patio doors are among the best places to place a yoga mat because the access to nature is available no matter what position you are in, lying down or standing. It’s as close to working out, outside as you can get, while still indoors.
– When you are feeling really disconnected from nature sometimes the best thing you can do is simply stand, sit and look out at at your favourite view. It doesn’t have to be a fully natural view. Noticing a tree or roof top garden can do the same. Just really take it in and notice what ever it is to make a connection. My best exercise to do this is to try and notice one new thing each time you look, something you have never noticed before. Such as, a bird almost hidden in a tree or the strange way a branch is growing. Maybe there is a rock somewhere that you never paid attention to that now catches your eye or a new pot that will soon be planted. It’s all connection that your body is making, that can bring a similar ease that nature brings when you are out in it.
– You can also make the most of the nature you have inside. Even if you only have one or a few plants in your house, gather them to a place together in the space you spend the most time. Create your own indoor garden and tend to it unlike you ever have never before. Split them and repot them if you can, clip and trim just a little everyday and spread the soil as often as you can. It may seem silly, but the chemicals released from a plant and the organics in soil have proven health benefits, that are hard to show, but proven by science.
– When all else fails you should know that natural scenes (produced artificially) have been shown in studies to evoke similar neurological reactions as nature itself can. Some of the reasoning is that your brain and body are reminded of the same feeling you had in nature and when you look at an artificial view, so it releases the same chemicals to create the same feeling as it did naturally. So, change your screen saver to your favourite natural view, put an outdoor show on mute on your tv, pull out some family holiday photos of your time on the beach or favourite hiking spot or google your dream vacation or natural location.
It may all seem like rather basic advice but it holds more power scientifically than we know. Nature is where we find balance the fastest and easiest. We are nature ourselves. So it holds more proven healing powers that are often not promoted. We need it much more than we acknowledge. We assume it will always be there and we can always go there. It does more to support us emotionally than we recognize. So as things change, we may feel lost without it. Our ability to bring it in, take it in and benefit from it stands with our ability to be creative in these crazy times. But I promise, it will be worth every small effort you make.
We can do this. Just like nature our ability to be resilient and adjust with the conditions around us is nothing short of miraculous.
Next Blog: How To Take In Fresh Air When Things Feel Like Anything But Fresh