Connecting with Nature for Wellness & Balance
“Have you stopped to smell the roses lately?”
Taking time out of your day to connect with nature is good for your mind, body and soul. It helps to boost cognitive functioning, reduce and alleviate stress and depression, and helps to improve your ability to stay focused. Doctors, counselors, employers and professors are encouraging people to utilize nature for increased stability, productivity, and a sense of belonging, healing and wellness. Nature is filled with colorful sights and diverse sounds which may increase our appreciation for self, nature, healing and happiness- a holistic approach to wellness!
HOW DOES NATURE CONTRIBUTE TO WELLNESS AND BALANCE?
Connecting with nature allows us to:
- Take a break from everyday stressors and challenges
- Stay grounded mentally, emotionally, and physically
- Tap into our inner child and play
- Develop healthy lifestyle habits through exercise (hiking, walking, swimming, etc.)
- Strengthen our bodies with Vitamin D
- Reduce isolation by engaging with people outside
And the best part? You can do all that for free, everyday, whenever you want. Nature is available 24/7!
I’M READY TO CONNECT. WHERE DO I GO?
There are many places and spaces on Grounds and in Charlottesville that can give you your daily fix of mother nature.
- Grab lunch, grab a book, grab some friends, grab your dog – whatever you want – and hang out on the lawn
- Check out the Wildlife Habitat at the Dell
- Check out the view from the top of the Graduate Hotel on the Corner
- Head to the medical grounds seasonal Farmer’s Market for some lunch and grocery shopping (Every Thursday from May 17th-September 27thfrom 11a-2p on Hospital Drive)
- Trace the Serpentine Walls in the UVA gardens
- Head out for a walk/jog/run along one of UVA’s trails
- Check out the stars at one of McCormick Observatory’s public night programs
- Parks, creeks, trails, and more in Charlottesvilleand Albemarle
- Head to Wild Rockpark
- Take a visit to Skyline Drive
With other people:
Check out these opportunities to join others in the UVA and Charlottesville community in making mother nature part of their self-care.
I WANT TO CONNECT – BUT I’M STUCK INSIDE ALL DAY!
With classes, studying, and working, some days may not allow for as much time outside as you would like. There are many simple ways to bring the outside in, so you can still feel connected!
- Incorporate plants and flowers in your space
- Hang images of nature on walls
- Utilize screensavers, apps, YouTube, or even live feeds of animals and natural scenes around the world
- Utilize essential oils to spray in the room or use in a diffuser to uplift your mood
- Take breaks throughout the day and visualize your happy place in nature
Quick exercise to try outside:
Unplug. Leave your phone and laptop in your office or living space, and go outside. Inhale and exhale a breath or two of fresh air. What do your five senses notice?
- As you walk around, take a look at your surroundings; what do you see? What do you notice? How many birds were out?
- What do you hear? Were birds chirping? Any bees buzzing? Was the wind blowing?
- Take your shoes off- let your feet touch the grass/dirt, or feel the branches on the tree or the grass with your hand, pick a flower or pick up a lucky 4 leaf clover- what does it feel like? Was the dirt/grass cool or warm under your feet?
- Have a picnic in the grass/under the sun-what changes when you are outside, versus at your desk when you eat lunch?
- On your way back to your office, class or living space- reflect on your time spent in nature. Inhale and exhale a breath of fresh air or two. Notice any changes in your mood?