…this short guide will give you tips to help you connect with nature.
Connecting With Nature Toolkit
The benefits of nature on our mental health are powerful, and even small interactions with nature can really help.
With that in mind, we want to help inspire you to spend a little more time in nature, whether you live deep in the middle of the countryside or deep in the inner city.
Benefits of connecting to nature
Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including
anxiety and depression. There are also so many wellbeing benefits that come from spending
time in nature, such as:
- Reducing stress and helping with relaxation.
- Improving your mood.
- Inspiring ideas and boosting creativity.
- Improving cognitive ability, memory, concentration and retention of information.
- Connecting to something bigger than yourself, gives a sense of purpose.
- Encouraging exercise, improving your physical health
- Boosting your desire to gain knowledge and try new things.
- Generating feelings of gratitude, respect, connection and a desire to maintain the environment.
Connecting to Nature in the City
It can feel hard to connect with nature when you don’t have a garden or easy access to the countryside. But here are still things you can do…
Bring the outside in
Create an indoor herb garden with jars or cans.
Grow a window vegetable garden.
Rock and pot painting.
Draw or paint indoor plants or your window landscape view.
Go on a Nature Hunt
Take time to try and spot nature poking through in unlikely places
Head to your local park or green space
Join a rewilding or urban gardening group
Research suggests that indoor plants help to rid the air of common toxins and indoor pollutants.
Placing plants inside has been shown to reduce stress.
Indoor plants add colour and liveliness to your space, improving productivity.
Research has shown physical health benefits eg. reduced blood pressure and increased energy.
Connecting to Nature in the Countryside
Head outside and find a nice comfortable spot…
Bring your attention to your breathing – what did you notice?
Look for colours – what did you see?
Listen to sounds of nature – what did you hear?
Take notice of smells – what could you smell?
Check out some YouTube tutorials to help you get started…
Recycle or make a birdfeeder.
Paint positive quotes on natural timber and place around the garden.
Pot a plant in something different, like old boots or unwanted furniture.
Create a bug hotel.
Exercise and staying active is not only good for your physical health, it also has great benefits for your mental health. Physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health problems, like anxiety or depression, and exercising in nature offers even more benefits.
If you’ve not been active for a while, then start slowly and build it up over time
Taking a 10min walk around your local park
Doing some stretches in your garden
Run for 5mins then walk for 5mins.
Don’t get put off if you can’t find a form of exercise you enjoy right away.
Joining a group class
Getting a friend to exercise with you
Choose 5 different activities and try them all out to see what you enjoy most.
Don’t beat yourself up
Sometimes, getting out in nature feels too difficult. And that’s okay, just be kind to yourself.
If, and when, you are feeling able to try something, here are some tips for connecting with nature more easily.
The sounds of nature are very healing. Consider a YouTube video of birdsong or nature sounds without leaving your home.
Simply looking at the sky or out the window is going to give you all the benefits of connecting with nature. Try to notice all the natural things outside your window – spot some birds, notice some clouds, enjoy daylight.
If you are able, do go outdoors, but please don’t feel like you have to hike 10 miles through the forest! Just sitting on your doorstep will give you a connection to the outside world that will help you to feel just a little bit better.
See if you can order a plant to be delivered to your home and then enjoy looking at it, watering it and spending time with it, I would encourage you, if you feel up to it, to visit Mayfield Nurseries. It’s such a special, tranquil place – regardless of whether you buy plants or not.