Two weeks ago, I unexpectedly had to self-isolate for 10 days. Living at the top of a block of flats, no garden to spend time in, I soon noticed my longing for the outdoors.
In my view, it is vital we remain connected to nature especially during these tough times. Based on my recent experience, I have complied a list of three simple ways to maintain such a relationship. I would also like to touch upon the reasons why I think this is important.
Over the years, I have personally grown to have a great appreciation for our environment. Although nature has no defined purpose, it affects us all on a daily basis. It’s entwined with our basic needs of energy, food and oxygen.
Creating a connection therefore consists of an acknowledgment of its significance, which is fundamental in relation to the issue of the climate crisis. On a personal level, there are also many health benefits. The British Charity ‘Mind’ provides a great list of examples that I would recommend taking a look at. For others, the connection may present itself as a spiritual experience or perhaps be a tool for mindfulness. And so, there are a vast number of reasons why this is something worth developing.
3 Ways to Connect to Nature Indoors
As I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this post, I was stuck in my flat unexpectedly. Consequently, the tips I am going to share are based on my own experiences of being unable go outside at all.
They are all simple in practise and, considering you are able to read this post, should also be accessible.
1. Open the blinds (and window/s)
This is a rather mindless task but during these winter months it can be easy not to do it immediately. When you do open your blinds, it’s a good idea to take a look at your surroundings. Is there any wildlife you can spot? Any birds flying past in the sky?
I live in a very built-up part of the city and so would naturally assume that there isn’t much wildlife to be aware of. But after I started taking care to be observant, I noticed different birds now and then on the roof top opposite. When I did spot one, I would research it soon after to discover the species. This strengthens my knowledge and subsequently my relationship with the outdoors.
I decided to put “window/s” in brackets as, on cue, the British weather has supplied us with an abundance of rainy spells and so it’s not always appropriate to leave them open. However, if there is an opportunity to do so, I would recommend it. Breathe in the fresh air and actively listen to the sounds being projected. It could be that you are unable to hear wildlife noises, but perhaps something you can hear are the rustling of trees. I find this to also be an effective mindfulness exercise.
2. Watch nature programmes/videos online
Although I didn’t get to do this as often as I’d have liked, it is such a great form of escapism. I adore the Blue Planet series, as an example, as it provides an insight into a world I would not experience on a daily basis.
In terms of how this will help you to reconnect with nature, video form can be immersive and take you out of reality and into a new one. Not only this but documentaries in particular present factual information that cultivate a deeper understanding and subsequent connection with our surroundings. Likewise, this gained knowledge can be inspiring.
3. Listen to nature sounds
I am not necessarily suggesting that you sit down and purely listen to nature sounds (unless that’s something you’re interested in doing of course!) but simply playing them in the background occasionally.
Lately, I’ve been waking up to a mediation playlist that frequently features outdoor noises and I find it to be really soothing. Because of the relaxation elements, it can be something to unwind to in the evenings. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sounds of wildlife, it could be of the water running down a stream for example.
It brings a sense of connection that doesn’t require active engagement and so is easy to attain.
(BONUS!) 4. Interact with house plants
Naturally, I had to make this option a bonus idea as not everyone owns house plants. I am blessed with a spider plant that grows incredibly quickly and doesn’t require too much attention. Despite this, I interact with it daily. I am unashamed to say that I speak to it often and check the leaves for signs that it may be wilting.
Caring in this way boosts my mood and allows me to admire its form, adding to my sense of connection.
Maintaining a relationship with nature when stuck inside is so incredibly beneficial: I can’t stress it enough. It kept me positive and mindful during my time indoors and I am grateful to have discovered these methods.
Although I am no longer in isolation, I am going to be using some of these ideas on a daily basis regardless as they are ideal to participate in when taking a break.
What do you think?
Don’t be shy – let me know your thoughts in the comments!
These ideas are based upon my own habits and experience during isolation and I am convinced there are many other ways to connect to our environment while remaining indoors. Let me know if you have any additional ideas or if you have tried any of these methods out for yourself!