Amid the pandemic, when we were for the most part quarantined, urged to remain indoors as much as possible, I had an overwhelming urge to get out into nature. Living as I do in Southern California, I figured I could go find a beach and stare at the ocean for a bit without breaking any quarantine regulations.
I loaded the dogs into the car, and off we went. I found a nice stretch of deserted beach and walked myself and my pups down as close to the ocean as we could without getting wet. The fact that it was a cold gloomy overcast day didn’t bother me at all. I breathed in the salt air, the enormity of sea and sky until I felt full of nature’s bounty. Packed the dogs back in the car, and drove home feeling relieved and serene.
Little did I know that I’d just given myself a “PaRx” – a nature prescription – as increasing numbers of Canadian physicians have been giving to their anxious and depressed patients. The healing properties of a couple of hours per week in nature are amazing. It benefits young and old, rich and poor, healthy and not-so-healthy. Research shows that spending time in nature is good for pretty much anything that ails you. Parks, beaches, forests – your choice. Nature is healing in all her forms.
But what if you haven’t the time or access to a park/beach/forest? There’s an alternative: indoor plants. Yes indeed, studies show that spending time with houseplants also has many health benefits. Real plants (not plastic, sorry) can reduce stress, sharpen attention, provide cleaner air, boost productivity, and facilitate healing, to name but some of the benefits. What a gift.
So whether you indulge in that glorious weekly two hours outdoors, or simply spend time tending and enjoying your couple of perky houseplants, go for it! You’ve nothing to lose, and lots of benefits to gain.