How can nature improve your well-being during lockdown?
Updated: May 18, 2020
As we continue on during another week of lockdown, it can be hard to remain positive about a situation that is pretty much out of our hands. However, there are several things you can do to boost your mood and stay on top of both your mental and physical health! Whether you’ve relocated to working from home or you’re a key worker on the front line, it’s important to still make time for yourself and your feelings. Reconnecting with nature is a great way to de-stress and allow both your body and mind to breathe. Our founder, Akil Gordon-Beckford, believes that ‘Using nature as a form of therapy is the most effective way of improving how people feel’. In light of this, we’ve compiled a quick guide of ways to help you make the best of your current situation and to hopefully feel happier and healthier overall.
1. Make the most of your daily walks For many people, we’re spending much longer periods inside than we’re used to, especially as we approach the summer! The government’s current lockdown permits for everyone to take a daily walk outside of their home, and this advice is incredibly important for your well-being. Whilst it’s very important to observe social distancing and maintain public safety rules, getting outside and into the sunshine is a really easy way to clear your head and get away from your phone.
Also, walking has several health benefits, and has been found to combat symptoms of depression as effectively as medication. Researchers at Duke University found that "a brisk 30-minute walk or jog around the track three times a week may be just as effective in relieving the symptoms of major depression as the standard treatment of anti-depressant medications.”
2. Get active
Physical activity helps to release endorphins and helps you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are several platforms, companies and influencers who are offering free workout guides and videos, so there’s no excuse to not try at least one form of exercise! Whether you prefer yoga, HIIT training or Zumba, there’s something for everyone to try, no matter your level of capability.
Add another layer to your exercise experience by training outdoors or in your garden; this provides you with the benefit of having more open space, a fresh breeze and a change of scenery from your bedroom or living room. The direct connection with nature will add additional benefits to your health and well-being. If exercise really isn’t your cup of tea, you could try eating one of your meals outside (and make sure to leave your phone inside). Take a moment to appreciate your surroundings; there is a lot of beauty in simple things such as birds singing or spring flowers blooming.
3. Embrace empathy
Human beings have an innate ability to connect with each other and care for one another; our brains have evolved to release oxytocin (a bonding hormone) when we show or receive acts of care and kindness. Try to channel your capacity for empathy into another life by looking after/nurturing a plant or animal, as well as showing kindness to those around you.
The sense of fulfilment gained from cultivating a plant, a garden project, or developing an aquarium ecosystem can be really rewarding and has significant benefits for your own sense of wellbeing and mental health.
Meditation is an important way of focusing the mind and repairing mental fatigue. Try meditating in an environment that is rich with nature, as this helps to amplify the mental and physical benefits of the practice. Find a space, perhaps in your garden, that provides natural surroundings such as trees, plants or flowers and use this open space to help to both clear and soothe your mind.
There are several different techniques which incorporate nature as part of meditation. One particularly effective approach is known as focus meditation, which is the practice of using a stimulus (i.e. a visual object) as a focal point to help anchor the mind and enter an introspective state. This method is usually applied to inanimate objects but focusing on animals, plants or visuals of nature (live or virtual) can also significantly enhance this form of relaxation.
5. Travel the world and learn about nature (virtually)
If you’ve watched every true crime documentary there is or you simply miss the freedom of travel and holidays, create a mini-watchlist you can tackle during quarantine! From Blue Planet to Chasing Coral, there’s a huge variety of high-quality nature programmes you can enjoy from the comfort of your sofa. If you have children, this is a great way to introduce them to some of the Earth’s most beautiful locations and creatures without the added stress and expense of travelling!
Studies have shown that observing aquaria and natural displays can lower blood pressure and boost your overall mood, so use these programmes as a form of escape and relaxation! Whilst we are living in unprecedented times, having more downtime in our own homes can definitely be a huge positive and offers a great opportunity to reflect and unwind at our own rhythm. Equally, if you want to learn more about Videre and what we do, we highly recommend our YouTube channel. We recently hosted our second Life Gallery exhibition, which featured several aquariums and display pieces, and you can watch the full interactive tour here. Plus, for more condensed videos and close ups of some of our most beautiful exhibits, check out our TikTok - @videreaquariums. We hope you've enjoyed our round up of ways you can integrate nature within your daily routine to feel better, mentally and physically! Stay safe and don't forget to check out our other social media: FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM