Does nature benefit wellbeing?
There’s no doubt that this past year has made us think about the importance of nature on our mental wellbeing. For many of us, walking in nature has become part of our daily routines, helping us to stay active or clear our minds after a busy day. As we found ourselves with more time on our hands, we may have experimented with new recipes using healthy ingredients, and the green fingered among us may have even tried sprucing up the garden!
Maybe it’s because we had no choice but to slow down and take notice of our surroundings. Perhaps it’s because we’re designed to live in and be sustained by the natural environment. Or maybe it’s simply because there hasn’t been much else to do!
Whatever the reason, we’ve come to appreciate the colours of a sunset, the arrival of blossom in the spring and even the snow on the ground in winter more than ever. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation have chosen ‘Nature’ as their theme for Mental Health Awareness week 2021.
How can you bring nature indoors
Whether you live in a house with a garden, or a flat with a windowsill, you can experience the benefits of bringing nature into your home.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas…
At your desk
- You could grow a desk plant these desk plants can help to brighten up your office space.
- Why not try listening to nature sounds while you work? These recordings by Headspace are a good place to start.
- Need to destress? You could drink a herbal tea…feel free to dunk a biscuit in it for extra luck! These teas can help reduce stress and anxiety.
On the windowsill
- You could plant some houseplant seeds and watch them grow. Here are 8 houseplants that are great for windowsills.
- When you’ve mastered that, you could even grow a windowsill herb garden and add flavour to your meals!
- If planting isn’t your thing, you can still get lost in a book about nature. We recommend anything by Jules Pretty.
In a small garden
- Why not make friends with wildlife and build a bug hotel (you can’t find these on Booking.com!) or make a bird feeder for feathered friends.
There are lots of ways you can be clever with the design for maximum efficiency. See some tips on how to do this here.
- Get creative with garden furniture or features by using unloved materials. This article provides some great inspiration.
In a large garden
- Get your zen on – find a comfortable chair or blanket on the ground and listen to a meditation, we like this one by Stop Breathe and Think. Or you could even try some mindful mowing (yes – that is a thing!).
- Sharing is caring…you could grow some in season produce to eat and share with friends, family or neighbours. Find a ‘seasonal growing guide’ here.
- Embrace your inner child – doodle, draw, paint a picture, watch clouds, build a den, or even climb a tree!
A change of pace this summer doesn’t mean that we should forget about the benefits of nature on our wellbeing. What’s more, the environment can also benefit in a big way the more we nurture it. Winner winner, home grown veg for dinner!
At Trust Links, our therapeutic gardening project Growing Together helps people improve their wellbeing by providing access to nature, community and the chance to develop new skills. If you’d like to volunteer at one of our Growing Together theraputic gardens, find out how you can get involved.
For more inspiration on how you can experience the benefits of nature for your wellbeing, see our GO GROW GIVE challenge.