How to Stay Close to Nature in a City

Would you like to feel healthy, calm, and content with life? (Don’t answer that. We know it’s yes.) You could by spending just 2 hours a week in nature. It doesn’t matter if you are young or not so young, from an urban space or a rustic one. You don’t even have to perform any activities (of course, if you do, that’s a bonus). Just sitting in a park and watching nature is good enough. We are genetically wired to find peace in nature.

But the big question for people in urban spaces is: how does one get close to nature?

It’s not that difficult.

Find a Park

You don’t have to hike out of the city to find spots of natural beauty. Look around. Find a park nearby. Let’s say you are returning from work. If you have a personal vehicle, stop at one en route to home. If you’re taking a public vehicle, stop at the nearest park from your home. Then, if it’s feasible, walk home.

Sit on the grass. Spend some time noticing the different trees. Note the foliage – their colors, their shimmer in the sun, the way they spread out and dance. Notice the insects scurrying around. Or a block of sunlight. Pay attention to birdsong.

Or stroll around. Take off your shoes and walk on the grass. This is called earthing or grounding. It can improve your mood, sleep, and immunity and relieve pain and muscle tension, possibly by tuning your body clock to that of nature’s.[1]

Build Your Own Garden

If you have enough space for a small kitchen garden, go ahead and grow a vegetable patch. Not only would that keep you close to nature, it would contribute to your organic meals too.

Even if you don’t have a spot of spare land to grow plants, get indoor plants that are known to act as air purifiers – for example, spider plants and English ivy. Put planters, pots, and bottles in your balcony or on the windowsill. You could also keep a small birdbath on the porch or the lawn.

You could also bring a touch of nature to your office space. Keep a couple of small planters on your desk.

Don’t feel disheartened if none of this is possible. Nature isn’t just trees, remember. Keep your eyes open. Look at the clouds, the stars, sunlight, or rain. All of them have a calming effect.

Don’t forget to give back to nature too. Plant more. Conserve water. Recycle as often as possible. And find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

References

[1] Oschman, James L., Gaétan Chevalier, and Richard Brown. “The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” Journal of Inflammation Research 8 (2015): 83.