Even when Mother Nature isn’t in a hurry to bring spring to the garden, nature therapy (also known as Ecotherapy) is something that everyone can practice for positive health and wellbeing and is perhaps needed even more so, during the colder months of the year. Nature therapy can be any number of activities combined or just one activity that brightens your mood. Of course gardening is therapy but it also includes exploring and adventuring in nature, crafting with nature based materials, art work, exercising outside, evening nature spotting and star gazing, working or volunteering for community projects in green spaces and so much more.
Being outside and active in the natural world has so many benefits from lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety and depression, to improving cognitive abilities and a whole lot more but research has shown that just looking at a natural environment can be beneficial. So observing the outdoor world from a window can improve your mood, speed up recovery (for example if you were in hospital) and have better job satisfaction, motivation and productivity if you can gaze at nature from your workspace.
While there are so many signs of the most uplifting time of year - spring - there is also a blanket of snow in some areas, rain and chilly temperatures. You might not feel so inspired to get outside but perhaps it’s exactly those times that it’s even more important to get your dose of nature therapy. It’s right outside your door - in your garden, on your balcony, at the local park.
So how can you get some nature therapy in your garden, even during the colder months of the year?
Get outside, as long as it is safe to do so. Put your coat and hat on and go for a walk around your garden or check on your patio pots. Keep taking breaks for fresh air and engage your senses.
Take your morning cuppa outside, if its even for a chilly few minutes. Breathe in the fresh air, observe changes in your space. What do you see, what can you hear and most importantly how do you feel?
Sow some seeds, look after them. Every step of the gardening process is an act of self care - for you and the environment.
Do you have a tree in your garden? Give it a hug and thank it for the air you breathe.
If it’s cold, wet or snowy take a few minutes to simply look outside. Deep breathes in and out, clear your mind and know that spring is almost here.
If you’d like a whole weekend (or a full day) of nature immersion where you can connect with the natural world on a deep level, check out my first People Plants Wellbeing retreat of 2023. Glamping in private woodland, you’ll can wake up to the sounds of nature and take part in activities such as guided forest bathing, foraging, meditation, massage, crafts and so much more. If you need a reset, this is the retreat for you. Just a few spaces left, check it out at: www.peopleplantswellbeing.com/wellbeing-retreat