Spending time in the natural environment has been shown to bring a range of benefits to mental and physical health - as well as generally being a free or low-cost activity.
Doing things like growing food or flowers or going for a run or bike ride outdoors can have lots of positive effects, including:
- Reduction in stress and anger
- Alleviation of anxiety and depression
- Increased happiness and improved mood
- Improved confidence and self-esteem
- Reduced mental fatigue, clearer head and improved concentration
- Improved sleep
- Feeling more energised
- Improved physical health (lower blood pressure, boosted immune system)
- Feeling more connected to nature, yourself and other people
Take a look at the following tips and suggestions to help you enjoy nature:
- Grow or pick food - plant vegetables in your garden or herbs in a window box; go fruit picking at a local farm or orchard, or blackberry picking. Remember that eating a variety of fruit and veg is a good way to get the vitamins and minerals we need as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
- Bring nature inside - buy flowers or plants for your home; take photos of your favourite places in nature; arrange a comfortable place to sit by a window where you can see trees or the sky.
- Get outdoors - go for a walk in a park, forest or at the beach; go for a picnic or eat in the garden; watch the stars at night; exercise outdoors - go for a run, do some yoga, go cycling in the countryside or go hill walking; help with litter picking.
- Connect with animals - watch out for wildlife when you're outdoors; hang a bird feeder in your garden; do some dog-walking for a friend; go bird watching.
And finally, remember to be mindful in nature. When you're outdoors, find things to see, hear, taste, smell and touch, like grass under your feet or the feeling of wind and sunlight.