Humans have an innate connection with nature. Ever notice how a simple walk in the park can make you feel extraordinarily alive? Even though many of us are far removed from the natural world, just being outside can do wonders to restore our mood and lift our spirits.
What about when that connection is severed, though? Recent social distancing measures have taken life indoors for millions of people worldwide. If you’re one of them, finding ways to connect with nature during COVID-19 is imperative for both your mental and physical wellbeing.
While most cities have given the green light for people to go outside, connecting with nature isn’t always easy depending on where you live. If you’re in the city without a park in sight, for example, getting outside might not feel much different from being cooped up in the house.
How To Connect With Nature During COVID-19
Regardless of where you live, there are ways to connect with nature during COVID-19, inside or out. Following are some ways to keep your connection to the natural world during these unprecedented times.
Connecting With Nature Outdoors
If you’re in an area where getting outside is possible, do yourself a favor and enjoy it as much as possible. Even if your time outside is limited, you can still use time to your advantage by using it to connect with nature. The following are a few ways you might think about connecting with nature outdoors:
- Plant a Garden
While not everyone has the outdoor space to plant a garden, those that do might want to consider taking advantage of the outdoor space they do have. Growing your own food, even if just one tomato plant, is wildly satisfying and a great way to connect deeply with the splendor of the natural world. If you don’t have a backyard, consider container gardening on the balcony, porch, or deck.
- Take a Hike
If you’re fortunate to be near outdoor hiking trails, get outside and take a hike! Hiking won’t just help you connect deeper with nature. It’s excellent for improving wellness. It’s obviously great for your physical health, but did you know hiking can improve your mental health as well? The impact of social distancing on the mind is real, but getting outside and taking a hike could decrease some of that stress and anxiety you might very well be feeling.
- Go For a Walk Around the Block
While going for a walk around the block might not seem like it would connect you too close to nature, especially if you live in the city, just making yourself get outside once a day can be incredibly beneficial. While you’re out, tune in as much as possible to the natural world. Spring is in full bloom, after all. Notice blooming flowers and bright green buds. Bird songs and butterflies. Bees taking in the nectar from freshly bloomed flowers. Feel the sun on your face and be thankful stay-at-home orders didn’t happen mid-winter! Taking a mindful walk around the block can do wonders to shift your perception and give you a deeper sense of connection to the natural world around you, no matter where you happen to live.
Connecting With Nature Indoors
Strict social distancing measures have many of us indoors more than we’ve ever been before. If you’re unable to get outside as much as you’d like, there are still ways you can connect with nature from the comfort of your own home.
- Invest in a Houseplant
Don’t have houseplants? Now’s the time to get one. Whether you live in a small apartment or a big house, houseplants give you a direct connection to the natural world. Caring for them can also bring a lot of joy. If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, some easy houseplants to care for include spider plants, pothos, and philodendrons. Aloe and other succulents are also easy to care and excellent for anyone who’s convinced they can’t keep a plant alive.
- Plant Some Herbs in a Sunny Window
Even if you live on the 5th floor of an apartment building and don’t have a balcony, you can still connect with nature by bringing nature indoors. Growing herbs in a sunny windowsill is easy, inexpensive, and can help harness a serious connection to nature, without venturing outside at all. Growing herbs comes with a big bonus, too. You can use your fresh grown herbs in your favorite dishes! Herb kits can also easily be ordered online if you can’t make it to your local nursery.
- Take a Virtual Tour of a National Park
Being required to distance ourselves socially has led to a lot more time spent online. Instead of binging on Netflix or mindlessly scrolling social media, take your mind outside by taking a virtual tour of one of the many beautiful US National Parks. The National Park Foundation has put together an amazing collection of National Park tours anyone can enjoy from home.
Making a priority to connect with nature during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for our overall wellbeing. Whether indoors or outside, do yourself a favor and commit to connecting with nature as much as you possibly can.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.