In celebration of Earth Day and the health of our global community, here are 6 ways you can connect with nature—from inside your house—during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Grow your green thumb.
Whether you plant an herb garden in your kitchen window, make a terrarium in a fishbowl or regrow green onions you bought from the store with water in a jar...keeping plants can help lift your physical and mental health. Along with naturally purifying the air in your house, indoor plants can help soothe stress, spark your creativity, and boost your general sense of wellbeing and productivity.
2. Introduce aromatherapy.
Capturing the “essence” of natural smells, adding essential oils to a diffuser or carrier oil is a simple way to invite nature inside. More than just smelling amazing, breathing in the smells of many essential oils also stimulates many health benefits. For instance, lavender essential oil has been shown to promote calmness and reduce anxiety, while rosemary essential oil has been shown to quell stress and improve mental function and clarity.
3. Listen to nature sounds.
Nature engages all of our senses—including listening. From chirping birds to babbling streams and waterfalls, listening to natural sounds can help lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. You may try listen to nature sounds while you go about your morning routine, or when you feel you need 5 to 15 minutes to pause and breathe.
4. Get creative.
Looking at nature scenes and creating art can promote feelings of calmness. And when it comes to making art, your options are truly endless. You may try drawing the bird you see on the fence outside, pick up a nature-themed coloring book, or use all five of your senses to write a poem about one of your favorite outdoor places.
5. Eat whole foods.
Whole foods—like fruits, vegetables—still resemble their form in nature, and can help you feel connected with the natural world in a direct and tangible way. They provide your body with vital nutrition and prevent chronic health conditions. Whole foods are also often better for the environment and support community farmers when bought locally.
6. Add water.
Last but not least, did you know our Earth is roughly 70% Water! Water provides your body and brain with the nutrients they need to function optimally. Water can also become a meaningful way for you to connect with nature during stay-at-home orders. Looking, listening to, or immersing yourself in water creates a sense of positivity (scientists call this state 'blue mind'). So as you grab your jug, fill up, and hydrate, consider looking at images of your favorite body of water or listening to sounds of rivers or oceans.