I’m a firm believer that one of the absolute best things you can do for your health overall is to get outside. But what if you can’t get outside? Or you can’t get out there as often as you’d like? Due to an injury or illness you may be confined to bed rest. Or you work long hours indoors. What do you do then? Here are 5 ways to bring the outdoors indoors:
1. Get Outdoors Anyway
Even if it’s only for a brief moment. Even if someone has to carry you or wheel you out there. If that’s any possibility you can get outdoors, make your best attempt to do so. Even a few breathes of fresh air and sunshine can be healing.
2. Spend Time by a Window
If you’re confined to your bed (or other piece of furniture) make sure it’s near a window where you can see outdoors. At work, try to do as much as you can somewhere with a view. Roger Ulrich, an environmental psychologist, found that hospital patients with window views of trees healed, on average, a day faster, needed less pain medication, and had fewer complications than patients without a view of trees. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6143402)
3. Indoor Garden
It doesn’t have to be a full garden. But that could be fun. And delicious if it’s edible. Even a few green plants can help oxygenate your home or workplace’s air. The simple aesthetic beauty of plants and flowers also improves our health. I’d recommend succulents if you’re just starting out since you can’t kill those suckers. But it really doesn’t matter what you go with. Just green things up.
4. Decorate with Nature
Fresh cut flowers. Twisted tree branch art. Sand paintings. If you have Pinterest the sky’s the limits. And even if you don’t your imagination is. Get creative.
5. Watch Nature Documentaries
This kept me at least partially sane when I spent months on crutches and couldn’t quite get around in the wilderness like I had been previously. There’s much to be said about the power of imagery and for me it was easier to use movie images than to make up my own in my head. There are some really amazing ones out there but my favorites are definitely Animal Planet and Human Planet.
Mental health can really suffer if you aren’t able to spend any time outdoors but but bringing some of it in to you can help tremendously to combat that. Even if you are able to spend a lot of time outside and do, might as well bring some of that nature inside too. It can only amplify those benefits you’re already receiving.