Getting your dose of nature

by Genevieve Coblentz, CMN Managing Editor

While being stuck at home is a current necessity for the health and well-being of our community, it can be extremely stressful and boring for many people. Nature lovers everywhere who are now forced to stay inside are restless and getting creative in how they feed their passion. Connecting to nature can be a great stress and anxiety reducer. Even amidst our community health situation, there are still ways to get outside or connect to nature within guidelines. 

One way you can stay connected to nature is through gardening. Gardening allows you to get outside and get some vitamin D, while still practicing social distancing. As we are entering the Spring season, right now is the perfect time for you to start your vegetable garden or start planting bright flowers in your front yard that can lift people’s spirits up! Even if you don’t have a yard big enough for an outdoor garden, you can start indoor or porch herb gardens — or place flowers on your window sill. Oregon State University is offering a free online gardening class. (See our soil-building article)

You can still get outside for walks or bike rides around your neighborhood. This may not be the hike or beach walk that you might prefer, but it still lets you get out of the house and moving. Moving is really important for mental and physical well-being. Just remember to practice social distancing and leave six feet between you and any other fellow walkers and bike riders. 

If you want to connect with nature without leaving your house, you can sketch, draw, or journal about animals and plants that you can see through your windows. These activities allow you to stay indoors, while still connecting you to the outdoors.

Finally, with all this extra time on our hands, this is a great time to learn more about our area and the nature that lives here! If you have always wondered what kind of bird sits on your porch every morning or what keeps eating the food in your garden, now is the time to research and learn more about it! And speaking of birds, Portland Audubon is offering online classes and videos. Check out their Facebook page for info. The Oregon Zoo and Oregon Coast Aquarium have live video streams perfect for the whole family!

Even if you can’t go explore wild places now, there are still many great ways to connect to nature. This is not an ideal situation for anyone, but it is vital for the health of our community. We are all in this together. Stay safe!