Updated: Oct 23
Something that really came to the fore during the pandemic was just how important getting out and about in nature and enjoying lots of fresh air is, not just for our physical health but for our mental and emotional wellbeing, as well.
It was certainly intriguing to see how interest in rural and countryside properties increased as the crisis came to a close, with people more and more inclined to have green spaces on their doorstep after being confined inside for the various lockdown periods.
Of course, we can’t all live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by green belt land, but research studies have shown that we don’t actually need to be nestled in the countryside in order to enhance our connection to the natural world and there are lots of other ways to go about this, as well as getting out and about outside.
We can reap the benefits just by sitting and listening to the birds sing, or by strolling down the street and paying attention to the trees waving in the breeze or the plants in people gardens. I currently am privileged enough to live in a house surrounded by nature, nestled next to ancient woodland but it hasn't always been this way. When I lived in a flat the city of Brighton, as I did for 15 years. I knew every tree on the streets surrounding my home and would enjoy looking at the ever changing gardens of my neighbours as passed. I always felt doing so made a huge difference to my mental health and feelings of well being.
We can bring the outdoors in with lots of lovely house plants, taking care of them helps us slow down and relax. They enhance the indoor air quality in our homes by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. Apparently houseplants also contribute to stress reduction and improve mental health as caring for them can be therapeutic and calming.
Apparently, even just watching nature shows can be good for our mental health! One of my most favourite plant documentaries was The Green Planet on the BBC. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, it's a truly visual feast.
It’s all about taking the time to be present in the moment, whether that’s by planting a few bulbs in the garden and noticing how the soil feels between our fingers, or stopping to truly look at your local oak on your street's verge, writing poems in woodland (as I do) or painting pictures of our favourite spot in nature.
There are so many creative, fun and different ways you can bring more nature into your life, even if you don’t always have the time to head out and explore your local countryside. What about eating seasonally and hitting the kitchen to try out some delicious new produce that you perhaps wouldn’t have gone for otherwise? Or creating an alter and regularly adding local foliage or leaves etc. Mine currently has a beautiful conker I picked up on a street in Stratford upon Avon! Or just having a lovely bunch of flower from your local supermarket that you can admire and that brings you joy each time you look upon them. There are lots of ways to connect to nature and reap the benifits.
If you’re currently looking for new and exciting nature-based opportunities to enhance your mental and emotional health and wellbeing, g
et in touch with me to find out more about my country retreats in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside.