A lot has changed over the last 18 months but one thing has remained available throughout – nature. It may have been restricted at times to one hour outside our houses for a walk. But it was always there. Over the past few years, research has shown we have become more disconnected with nature in our daily lives. Increased time on screens and daily demands means we rarely have regular ‘escapes’ to places of natural beauty. However, what I have noticed over the pandemic is that craving to be in nature has been reignited for many – and it doesn’t have to be a planned trip into the wilderness just for those who can use a map and compass!
Garden centres and DIY stores reported a 500% increase in houseplant sales and 45% increase in fruit and vegetable plant sales in 2020. In the last year 3.5 million people in the UK have taken up gardening for the first time.
So why is connecting with nature good for us?
- Nature increases our concentration and attention span.
- It improves our mood and our ability to be creative, it also decreases stress.
- It reduces blood pressure, fatigue and pain.
How to easily add in a daily dose of nature:
- Adopt a houseplant! There are some great plant swap groups, you don’t need to spend lots and many don’t need lots of care. I am a big fan of cacti and funny looking succulents!
- Have a cup of tea outside. A 5 minute break outside can be enough to refresh your concentration.
- Add images of nature to your screensaver. Some days going out isn’t possible, by adding a photo of your favourite place in nature to your phone you can transport yourself there.
- Explore the footpaths local to you. Observe what is growing, the colours of trees, and the sounds of birds. By getting to know your local area you can see how it changes over the seasons. This not only connects you to nature, but your community too.
Cup-O-T: Wellness and Therapy Services is a not-for-profit mental health service providing mental health interventions and wellness sessions to young people and adults.