By Allie Wisniewski, American Forests
When you call a bustling city home, it can often be tough to connect with nature. Don’t give up hope, though – there are plenty of ways to bring nature to you.
Spend Time in Local Parks
If you live in a city, pure, unadulterated nature can be hard to come by. Thankfully, urban parks exist, and with their abundance of trees, grass, shrubs and wildflowers, they can get pretty close to wilderness. A study by researchers at the University of Illinois found that “viewing tree canopy in communities can significantly aid stress recovery.” Browsing this list of the best urban parks in the country should assure you that there’s always greenspace close by waiting to provide you with that much-needed serenity.
Read Nature-Themed Books
Okay, sure, it’s not exactly the same thing, but never underestimate the power of imagery to transport you far beyond the confines of your bedroom. If reading in a forest isn’t feasible for you, at least you can read about a forest. Refer to this list if you’re searching for that perfect mental getaway — Goodreads has catalogued 546 of the best nature-themed books out there. If that isn’t a thorough compilation, I don’t know what is. From Thoreau’s classic “Walden” to Bill Bryson’s more contemporary “A Walk in the Woods”, you’re sure to find a tale that will help simulate the outdoor adventure you’re craving.
Plant an Indoor Garden
One of the best ways to connect to nature is to get up close and personal — to really get your hands dirty and grow your own food and flowers. Backyards aren’t exactly conventional, though, when it comes to urban housing, so traditional gardening might prove a bit tricky for those of you city-dwellers with limited space. With a little creativity and determination, however, anything is possible. Even if you consider yourself a “brown thumb,” growing potted herbs and flowers on your balcony or windowsill is an easily attainable feat. To get started, check out these low-maintenance plants for your indoor garden.
Listen to Nature Sounds
If you can’t access the outdoors, you can always bring the outdoors in. Thanks to streaming apps like Spotify that offer dozens of nature playlists, it’s never been easier to access the sounds of wilderness. YouTube is another great resource for nature soundtracks, and some of my favorite apps include Naturespace and Ambiance. When your urban home is finally filled with house plants, your own indoor garden and scattered piles of nature-themed books, the sweet calls of songbirds in the background is just what you need to round off the ambiance.