Surviving Lockdown: Commune with Nature

How long have we now been in lockdown? Without checking the calendar it’s hard to tell. Time moves in weird ways when you are all out of routine whilst simultaneously unable to engage in novel activities (like holidays and social events). It feels both like we’ve been in lockdown for ages and for no time at all.

Amongst my clients, there seems to be the feeling that this lockdown is harder than the first. People are expressing more frustration but less fear. We seem to be grimacing our way through this lockdown. The end seems so close, if we can just hold on…

Like all difficulties, I believe that the current lockdown is an opportunity for growth. But what can we learn from this inopportune hinderance on the path back to normalcy, perhaps so close to the end?

I have been finding meaning during this time by spending more time in nature. Leaving the house to spend time near water and vegetation. Spending time with plants and gardening at home.

My confirmation biases were tickled then, by a recent study by Portuguese and Spanish researchers.

Published last month in the Journal Environment International, the researchers asked a few thousand Iberians about their mental health, living conditions and their relationship to nature during the heavy lockdowns last year.

There were significant associations between good mental health and engagement with the natural world. Portuguese people were less likely to have suffered poor mental health if they’d engaged with the natural world outside of their homes. Spaniards, who had much tighter restrictions and weren’t permitted to leave the house, reported better mental health if they’d tendered to plants during the lockdown.

Isolation makes you crazy. Social media makes you mad. Home schooling engenders despair.

Only nature, unchanging nature, accepts us as we are. Nature doesn’t care about our current dramas. Nature is vast and eternal, and we are small. Nature proves that this too will pass.

Place your attention on nature.

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