So things have gone strange again, and while many of our everyday liberties have been temporarily curtailed, time spent outside in nature has not been. If anything, Covid has highlighted the importance of the connection to our plants, gardens, green spaces, urban parks and nature, especially during these periods of lockdown.
At Garden Life, we have been focussing on the many small things we can do, to increase our well-being and mental health. Many of those centre around connection to nature – we are plant people after all!
If you have an outdoor space at home, gardening is a wonderful practice for the body, mind and spirit. Bare feet on the grass, hands in the soil, running your hand through the plants – anytime spent tending to a garden, however big or small, can calm us and help connect us back to the earth. If you don’t have a garden, head into your local park, get off the paths, and lose yourself in the nature of it all.
If you are a bookworm, The Well-Gardened Mind, explores the strong connection that exists between gardening and our wellbeing, and is wonderfully researched by psychiatrist and keen gardener Sue Stuart Smith. She intertwines her personal journey of finding solace in the natural world in overcoming the loss of her father, with research and stories from around the world of our need to connect with plants, nature and the richness that can bring into our lives. Stephen Fry calls it ‘The wisest book I’ve read all year’ and we agree!
As we find ourselves with more time inside, we have been pondering how to create a connection or bridge between us and nature, at home. Creating ways to connect all your senses to nature indoors can be as simple as adding indoor plants to each room, listening to the sounds of nature on Spotify, or burning natural candles or incense with the aromas of the bush or forest.
Research by Plant Life Balance shows that bringing the outdoors in, through plants, improves overall wellbeing including relaxation, inspiration and positivity. In addition, plants are efficient air purifiers too, removing environmental air pollutants and providing fresh oxygen to our indoor spaces.
To deepen your connection to nature when lockdown ends, here are our tips of things you can do in Sydney (or this might give you ideas for activities in your own city):
2/ Book a forest bathing walk.
Head to Centennial Parklands for a unique forest bathing experience and reap the health benefits of shinrin-yoko.
3/ Join us for a bushwalk.
Garden Life hosts monthly guided walks in Pittwater to raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (more dates coming soon.)
4/ Take a barefoot walk outside.
Kick your shoes off and get ’grounded.’ Not sure what we’re talking about? The Planthunter will explain.