With the rise in the Covid-19 infections one might feel compelled to avoid leaving the house for whatever is deemed unnecessary. Our government has also advised us to social-distance and have proceeded to close down public spaces as beaches and parks. Although these are necessary measurements to help reduce the spread of the virus, limiting contact with nature has its negative impacts on mankind. Since the lockdown most of us have been forced to adjust and adapt drastically, our way of life is no longer the same. Unanticipated change can cause enormous anxiety. More and more people are losing contact with nature and this can affect one’s overall wellbeing.
Hearing and seeing nature makes us feel happier and connected. Nature is restorative and gives us a sense of belonging. Studies have shown the importance of interacting with nature and how beneficial it can be to our survival. Being exposed to green spaces, plants and trees can make us feel more relaxed. Trees release phytoncides and when humans are exposed to these chemicals our brains are able to relax, rejuvenate and provide us with the ability to think better. Some physicians have also expressed that patients in hospitals with access to natural sceneries show relatively rapid recovery rates, increased pain thresholds, require fewer pain killers, and had less postoperative complications unlike those in closed off spaces. Nature helps improve our overall mood and reduces our stress and anxiety levels. It can lower blood pressure and one’s heart rate.The long-term benefits of this include reducing the risk of developing chronic ailments such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
If you are unable to physically visit an outside green space environment, there are still many other ways that we can enjoy the benefits of nature from the comfort of our own homes. Looking out of windows allows us to see what is going on around our houses and gives us a sense of normality. Research has also shown having a view of nature in office spaces can be a pleasurable experience that provides a brief break from one’s mental fatigue from work. Having house plants can also help improve our mood, reduce stress and increase productivity. House plants also remove toxins from the air. We can also use technology for viewing and listening to nature. This has been proven to be effective in improving relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful day. You can also consider having images of nature at home or as a wallpaper on your electronic devices or watching your favourite nature tv channel or documentary to increase your exposure to nature in order to lift your mood.
Although the beaches and parks are closed, spending time outdoors, especially in nature, is one of the fastest and effective ways to improve your health and happiness. Being in nature can be highly beneficial to your mental and physical health. So go for a drive, take a walk, hike up a mountain and gaze at the marvellous wonders that nature has to offer.
Remember If you cannot be in nature, you can always bring nature to you.