24 Apr Take a nature break, indoors
As I write, billions of us are in some form of lockdown, staying home and staying safe from the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need the calming presence of the natural world to help us think straight. As Rachel Carson said:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Yet many of us cannot go outside for the fresh air and fresh thinking we crave.
This blog suggests ten ways you can take a five minute nature break to connect with nature without stepping beyond your front door.
1 Cloud gazing Look at the sky from your window. Notice clouds, birds, planes, whatever’s there. Shapes, movement, colour: what catches your eye? Give yourself permission to breathe and daydream before restarting your day.
2 Listen for nature Open your window and listen out for natural sounds. Close your eyes if it helps. Birds singing? Bees buzzing? Breeze in the leaves? Don’t worry if you can’t name the sound – simply pause to enjoy it before returning to your day.
3 See green Green is thought to be a calming colour. Take a few minutes to look for any greenery you can see from your window: hedges, trees, a rooftop or roadside weed, perhaps a lawn or a field. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose, and feel calm return.
4 Reading nature Give yourself a few minutes to dip into a book that has a focus on, or is set in, nature. Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Remember, imagine, dream, plan – lose yourself in another world for a few moments.
5 Tasting nature Find some fruit or a vegetable you enjoy eating raw. Look at it closely: what do you see? Explore with your fingertips: how does it feel? Bite into it notice the smell and taste of each mouthful and how it changes as you eat. Enjoy!
6 Natural memories Find a photo on your phone that reminds you of a happy time outside. Recall as much as you can, not only the view but also any smells, sounds, tastes and touch you can remember. Let the memory linger into the rest of your day.
7 Sense the season Open your window and take a moment to experience whatever’s in season. Right now it’s spring: can you see any leaf buds or spring flowers? Feel warmth in the air? Hear birds chirping? Take heart that the cycle of nature continues around you.
8 Natural feel Gather things made from natural materials – a wooden spoon, a cork tablemat, wool or linen fabric, shells from a beach trip. Close your eyes and feel the different textures. Warm or cool? Rough or smooth? Hard or soft? Enjoy a tactile break from your screen.
9 Art, naturally Find a painting, a poem, a piece of music which you relate to nature or believe was inspired by it. Pause to enjoy the connection between yourself, the artist and the natural world before returning to the fray.
10 Scents of nature Find something living or recently alive, like a houseplant or a piece of fruit. Bring it up to your nose, close your eyes and breathe in deeply. What can you smell? Take another breath. Pleasant or unpleasant? Enjoy the sensation before opening your eyes and restarting your day.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
Choose a different natural break each day to regain perspective, calm your mind and refresh your thinking. As Frank Lloyd Wright said, it will never fail you. Let me know how you get on!