Can Nature Help Lift Our Spirits While In Lockdown?

As many people switch into a new sense of normal while either not working or working from home, the default pasttime seems to be exploring nature and spending time outdoors. 

"Our current crisis has switched us out of normal existence and into survival mode," Dr Anna Jorgensen said. She researches the connection between environment and wellbeing at the University of Sheffield and has noticed an increase in park population, use of hiking trails, and overall less crowds in cities and more people in outdoor spaces. 

"We no longer see ourselves as quite so immortal," Jorgensen said.

As people are finding new ways to adapt, one Instagram user seems to have perfectly summarized the struggle: "[It] takes a lockdown to find new paths from home. Escaped the 'office' to follow the River Trent winding through the floodplain at the bottom of our road, past gnarly old tree stumps and a statuesque heron." 

So it might not seem all bad when there are moments like the aforementioned and when you take into account the fact that there are less fuel emmissions in the air and less city noise. This pandemic might actually be giving the eco systems a much-needed break. 

While this pandemic has also done its job in inducing new stresses into our every day lives, studies have shown that even just taking a walk outside for ten minutes a day can help quell the panic and ease your mind. If we are surrounded by vibrant landscapes and bright, warm sunshine, we feel more intense feelings of calm and happiness. It's important to find those moments in our daily lives during a crisis like this. Taking up safe, socially-distanced hobbies like jogging or gardening are proven to be effective ways in easing anxiety and have been used as mental health treatments countless times.

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