Cover photo by Andres O'Beirne (@andresobeirne)
As the winter months take full swing and the temperatures drop, it can be harder to get outside and enjoy nature. But did you know that just being in nature can have a positive effect on our mental well-being? Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall happiness. So, what can we do to keep that connection to nature, when going outside is not an option? Here are a few simple and fun ways to bring a bit of the outdoors inside during the winter season.
1. Green up your space with indoor plants. Not only do indoor plants purify the air, but they also add a touch of nature to your space. Succulents, cacti, herbs and flowers are all great options. Mix and match different types of plants for added texture, color, and even fragrance.
2. Incorporate natural materials. Wood, stone, and other natural materials can bring a sense of nature into your home. A wooden accent wall, a stone fireplace or even a bamboo mat can make a big difference.
3. Let the natural light in. During the shorter days of winter, make the most of the natural light available by opening blinds and curtains, or even considering skylights or solar tubes.
4. Incorporate natural scents. Adding natural scents to your home through essential oils, candles, or potpourri can remind us of the outdoors and have a calming effect on the mind. Scents like pine, eucalyptus, and lavender are good options.
5. Nature sounds to the rescue. The sounds of nature can be soothing and relaxing. Look for nature soundscapes or create your own playlist with bird songs, water and forest sounds to help you disconnect and relax.
Although winter can make it harder to spend time in nature, there are simple ways to bring a bit of the outdoors inside. Indoor plants, natural materials, natural light, natural scents, and nature sounds are all great options to keep us connected to nature and improve our mental well-being. So, this winter, try some of these ideas and let nature into your home!
- "Nature exposure and mental well-being" by Jules Pretty, Jo Barton and Mike Hine, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2005 - https://jech.bmj.com/content/59/11/967
- "The Role of Nature in Promoting Physical and Mental Health" by Kaylie S. Fiore and Frances E. Kuo, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2018 - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0963721418761730
- "Exploring the Relationship Between Nature and Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis of Moderators" by Tessa R. Vos and Catherine Ward Thompson, Environmental Research Letters, 2019 - https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab2f9c