I’ve been researching the relationship between nature, technology and wellbeing for over 15 years, and I’ve found plenty of evidence that we can gain many measurable health benefits from connecting with nature indoors and on our screens.
Here are five ways to help you get the benefits of nature while you’re stuck indoors doing self-isolation.
- First things first — what can you see from your windows? If nothing much, consider moving the furniture around. A good view of greenery, trees, or even just more sky, can slow your heart rate and help you relax.
- When you’re browsing through Instagram, don’t swipe too fast. Take a moment to stop and appreciate the breath-taking sunrises, evocative dusks, gorgeous landscapes and intoxicating blooms. Imagine the texture of those leaves and petals. Recall the scent of that bluebell wood. Remember running your fingers along the bark of that oak tree. The sensuous outdoors is right there in your phone.
- Choose a new wallpaper for your screen. Research has shown that pictures of dense groups of leafy trees are very calming, so why not search for a jungle or forest? Then make sure you set time aside on a regular basis to just be with that image and sink into it, perhaps even meditate for a short while.
- Do you usually ignore your houseplants? Now you have the time to give them some love and be rewarded with a relaxing biophilic experience. Gently clean their leaves with cotton wool and warm water, make sure the pot is moist and they have the light level they need. Chat to them if you like. There are benefits for both of you.
- Enjoy the digital outdoors through gaming and VR. Remember Farmville? The company reported that many of their users chilled out at the end of a long day by harvesting their own virtual tomatoes. Or become a Grand Theft Auto landscape photographer and roam the wilds as you capture the glorious terrains of Los Santos.
What works best for you?