19 April, 2020
19 April, 2020
Published by Aakanksha Nair
Times are tough right now, no doubt, but we’ve got just the thing that can make you feel a little better. What is it, you ask?
We spy, with our little eye, something beginning with N. We’re talking about nature. Nature has always been a place for us to get some R&R. Be it, romantic poets in the 18th century who turned to nature for inspiration or your friend who went on a week-long trek to deal with a messy breakup, nature always helps get us back to the right headspace.
You might think this isn’t true for everyone, but science suggests otherwise. Research has shown that 1-on-1 time with nature even if it’s for 20 minutes can do us a lot of good. One such research explores the Japanese concept, shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). Shrinrin-yoku highlights that our urban lives don’t engage all our senses, but nature does: the music of a gurgling creek, a brisk breeze grazing our face, the musty fragrance of old trees.
This helps us not only reduce stress and anxiety but has significant health impacts: better heart health, lower risk for diabetes, and increased immunity to name a few. All benefits that we could definitely use in the middle of a global pandemic. Although, when 1-in-5 people across the globe are in lockdown, finding ways to relax that don’t involve wine or Netflix becomes difficult. Right? Well, not anymore!
We’ve always been masters at adapting to survive whether it’s with tools to defend against large wooly mammals thousands of years ago or a few months ago with TikTok to defend against boredom. We have adapted yet again - we can now access nature through the very thing that at one point steered us away from it, technology. Here are a few things you should try doing that will keep you in touch with nature until you can get back in nature.
Google Arts and Culture has always outdone itself in terms of making the world a smaller and more accessible place. Whether it is dramatic stages, Parisian roofs, or London streets, they have made it possible to experience the world online. Their recent addition is just what we need in these trying times: five breath-taking natural parks that you can explore from the comfort of your home. How? Just go to their website, put on your earphones, switch to the biggest screen you have and start your virtual trek.
Why binge on Tiger King, when you can watch the cool cats and kittens roam freely in the wild? Not a fan of cats? Well, choose which side of nature you want to get up and close with from the wide selection these live cams offer: from tigers to sharks and everything in between.
While there are a lot of options available, Explore is a great place to start exploring.
Pro tip: Explore’s Northern Lights cam is a neat find and while it’s always tricky to time the appearance of the northern lights, the effort is worth it!
For those who prefer sounds to visuals, there are several soundtracks that you can play while doing your daily tasks that will transform your WFH into Work From Nature. Must-tries include:
As we’ve heard, people staying home has had a lot of positive impact on nature and animals. Animals ranging from pumas to deer are roaming the streets freely. Sadly, not all animals are happy about the lockdown. Stray animals that depended on people for food and water are lost and confused. Even people with pets are struggling to finance essential supplies and veterinary care due to strained finances as a result of COVID-19.
So if you’re looking to reconnect with nature, what better way than helping animals? You can help by contributing to organizations like Ol Pejeta that are working towards keeping the future bright for wildlife. You can help by purchasing from sustainable brands that support animal welfare. You can help by spreading awareness about the various initiatives your local organizations are undertaking to support animals in need. Or you can simply be there for your friends and neighbors if you see them struggling.
Nature doesn’t always have to mean thick lush forests or horses galloping on fields. If you look closely, nature exists in many shapes and forms around us: potted plants, house pets, stray animals, and even the creepy-crawlies. Take time every day to notice and appreciate nature around you.
Need motivation? Organizations are finding unique ways to help you find and appreciate the smaller ways in which nature thrives around you. A must-try is the City Nature Challenge which urges people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. People participate to see their cities win in one of three categories: most observations of nature, most species recorded, or most people engaged.
Given the pandemic, this year’s challenge is not a competition but a collaborative effort from all the global citizens to find the green in these grey times.
Looking for something more personal? With each purchase, Awoke N’ Aware sends thank you cards made from botanical paper that can be planted. Don’t worry, this paper has been certified by CFIA and USDA to grow in Canada, USA, EU, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and many more countries.
Let’s be honest, times are stressful. So much so that it’s being predicted that we’re on our way to a mental health pandemic next. Let’s do our bit in avoiding this by not pretending to be fine and instead consciously making mental health a priority.
Let nature help you destress by giving these activities a try. And if you’re not convinced that nature can help, try your own thing. Better yet, tell us what activities make you happy by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. All in all, keep your mind engaged and happy and it will find ways to keep you going. After all, the lockdown has got nothing on the places your mind can wander to.
Toronto-based marketer, Aakanksha, is a story-teller by profession and passion. When she's not working on marketing campaigns, you'll find her immersed in passion projects around animals, sustainable living and of course, story-telling.
- Aakanksha Nair -
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