Whilst there’s nothing like the real thing, and we should all be trying to get at least an hour outdoors a day, it’s hard for many of us to get out there at the moment.
Did you know that just seeing images and viewing nature on-line can provide some benefits to our mental health and wellbeing?
Studies have shown that simply having a view of nature from a hospital bed improves a patient’s recovery time, reduces the amount of medication they need and sees them being discharged home sooner.
Just viewing nature scenes positively affects you, it reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings making you feel better emotionally. It can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, the production of stress hormones and can boost your immune system. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.
6 IDEAS TO ADD NATURE TO INDOOR, ONLINE DAYS
1. Make sure your desktop and screen savers incorporate nature
There are lots of amazing, free and inspirational landscape and nature wallpapers online.
2. Follow and overload newsfeeds with nature – whether joining groups, to following people and organisations who post regular videos or share amazing shots of nature, wildlife and outdoor activities. Uplift your spirits and relax by looking at images of amazing bluebell woods, wildlife frolicking across meadows, incredible landscapes or virtually camping under the stars.
3. Research and get excited – connect with your local farm shop, research local rights of way to plan walks from your home (every highway authority has them online), find local parks, gardens, wildlife sites, woodlands open to the public (Woodland Trust have a great on-line search tool for all woods open to the public), even self-guided walks that were never far away, ready for when you get back out there.
4. Virtual adventures – Visit gardens, parks, protected landscapes and some of the greatest national parks across the world from the comfort of your chair. Here are a few places to start your virtual adventures: -
https://www.youtube.com/user/uknationalparks go into ‘channels’ page to view videos of your favourite parks
Search for ‘virtual walks’, ‘virtual hikes’, even ‘virtual scenery’, ‘virtual canoe trip’, ‘rowing machine scenery’ – you get the idea…. Some of it footage developed for indoor treadmills, bikes etc. More and more footage of the best beaches, mountain ranges and through some of our most stunning landscapes in the world.
5. Live webcams – There are so many places and lots of wildlife you can view live. Local, across the country and worldwide. Look through a live window on nature! A few links and examples:-
Search for ‘local web cams’ to get sites like this http://www.wirralcam.com/
Instant access to inland water locations https://www.canals.com/webcams.htm
Visit surf beach locations live at https://magicseaweed.com/
Take virtual visit to places you’ve always wanted to visit e.g. the Lake District https://www.visitcumbria.com/webcams/
Or further a field https://www.webcambiglook.com/nationalparks.htm
6. Join online nature-based communities and groups - get involved, join people talking and sharing their experiences or action to help nature on-line. This is a great way to become connected with other like-minded people, locally or globally.
Lots of other ‘non online’ things can help us, like indoor plants and mounted prints of natural scenes have been shown to speed up the body’s ability to heal, recover and reduce stress. We’ll be posting other ideas on how you can stimulate nature’s ‘feel good factor’ at home with ‘sounds and smells’ of nature in our next post 😉