With so many of us living in urban centres and capital cities, it can be difficult to get out into nature and truly enjoy it. Some of us are lucky enough to live near green spaces, like our beautiful parks, creeks and wetlands. Others may enjoy the smells and sights of nature through their backyards or balcony gardens. No matter how you do it, research shows getting out into nature has both psychological and physical benefits.
Getting into nature has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and improve people’s moods. It can help create social cohesion within communities, improve vitamin D levels and support a strong immune system.
Here are our top tips for making the most of the nature around you for your health and wellbeing.
Digging your hands into the cool earth, pouring life-giving water onto thirsty leaves and soil, seeing flowers, plants or food bloom into existence – there are a host of experiences to enjoy when it comes to gardening.
Simply getting into your backyard or balcony garden for a few minutes a day can support you, not to mention the plants that need care and attention to thrive.
With many of us working from home, some days it can be hard to get past the front door. But what’s outside is almost unlimited. Try talking a walk through a different part of your area. You may find unexpected pleasures – beautiful native gardens, a community co-op or commons, or just a place where the birds hang out.
Being in nature may spark your curiosity or the budding scientist within you. Being part of a citizen science community that spots and records animals or plants in the wild may be the continued inspiration you need to head outside.
For those who can’t get out as much as you would like or are restricted in the places you can go, you can still stay connected to and support nature from your home. Live virtual tours can take you almost anywhere in the world, webinars from nature experts can keep you connected and informed about what’s happening to animals and plants in the places we love, and the online world is a great place to meet people from local nature groups around you!
Australia has more than 24,000 native plants, many perfect for experimenting with in your garden or even indoors. No matter what the conditions are like in your part of the country, there will be a shrub, tree or plant perfectly suited to that environment.
Feeling energised by being in nature can feel even more powerful within a community. When people come together for activities in nature – from dog walking to daytrips – it’s been proven to enhance social cohesion and reduce stress.