Join my Digital Wellbeing Facebook Group and meet up online to discuss the role of Digital Wellbeing during the epidemic. 5pm BST, Saturday 4th April 2020

Today is the third anniversary of the publication of my book “Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age”.

I wrote it in 2017 for people who were worried about spending too much time online and feeling overwhelmed by the digital. Many were desperately concerned that they could lose contact with humanity and become alienated from the natural world.

How ironic then that today, as we battle the coronavirus, those very technologies we feared would destroy our lives as we knew them are now helping to save us, or at least to keep us sane.

In 2017, I knew that when I offered 50 ways to feel better without logging off, some people would find the idea dangerous and unnatural, yet in the current crisis the tables have turned. Now, many are devising their own methods of staying in touch with the outside world via the internet.

Now is the time to share ideas and best practices for groups and individuals wishing to use the tools of digital wellbeing.

Here are just a few ideas to try for yourself – five activities taken from the book and slightly adjusted for the current lockdown.

  1. When you’re browsing through Facebook, Instagram, or anywhere else on the web, take time to stop and appreciate other peoples’ nature photos. They can be spectacular. Look out for breath-taking sunrises, evocative dusks, gorgeous landscapes and intoxicating blooms. And of course you could create your own album. How about sharing a photo of the same window view every day for a month to see how it changes?
  2. If you’re able to get hold of them online, you can buy an amazing range of vinyl wall stickers, sometimes called decals, which can transform a space, especially if teamed with real plants. I have a floor-to-ceiling decal of a leafy tree, and in front of it a wildly flourishing monstera deliciosa. I think they look fantastic together! (See below for a photo.)
  3. Stream the outdoors to the indoors via the web, TV or even radio. Some channels show ‘slow TV’, hours-long live programmes of landscapes, and there is a fashion for radio broadcasts of outdoor sounds of all types. Birdsong and rain are probably the two favourites. And there are thousands of webcams live-streaming landscapes, birds and animals all around the globe. All you need to do is search.
  4. Use your imagination. You have many biophilic memories stored in your subconscious. Use them to recall long-forgotten smells, tastes, sounds and sensations of nature. They may have been dormant since childhood but can still be summoned if you allow yourself to drift in that direction. For me, the list includes the warm odours of a hen-house; the intense perfume of greenhouse tomatoes; white dog-roses; anything to do with the beach; the scent and feel of cool grass in a sunny park. Find them, recognise them, remember them. Bring them to the surface. (This could be helpful during or after meditation.)
  5. Finally, games. If you’ve never bothered with gaming before, now you have the time to learn. They’re not all shoot-em-ups! Try video games. Second Life has a wealth of landscapes to enjoy, and the mountains in Grand Theft Auto are stunningly beautiful all year round. Take a trip into virtual reality to explore VR forests, plains, deserts, and oceans – treat yourself to a cheap Google Cardboard kit or a fancy VR headset to open up whole new vistas. Whether you choose to become a gamer or a VR tourist, you will discover landscapes you never imagined.

We will be sharing our own ideas at a live Zoom meetup 5pm BST, Saturday 4th April 2020. Join us!

Join the Digital Wellbeing Facebook Group to find out more.

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