Tips for Appreciating Nature Indoors

By: Cynthia Shackleton

There’s a second pandemic taking hold, especially among those who cherish wide-open spaces: cabin fever. 

When you can’t hit the road to natural spaces, you need to look elsewhere for your fix. The good news is that there are countless ways to appreciate nature indoors and at home.

Experiencing the great outdoors from inside has some upsides: no biting insects, venomous snakes, or sunburns! While this is a small consolation for a season spent at home, focusing on the positives will make the time pass more quickly. It won't be long before we're back on the road again.

Explore Nature Virtually
The national park system is one of the nation’s greatest treasures, and you can tour many of those parks now. Take a memorable break by using some digital resources to explore the world outside. From the Virgin Islands to Crater Lake, exploring these natural wonders has never been easier. The National Park Foundation offers virtual tours of some extraordinary sites. The program Google Earth also lets you tour a curated group of national parks in the US, from Acadia to Zion. Think of these virtual visits as research for your next road trip.

But why stop at the U.S. border? Technology makes it possible to explore nature around the world, right from your living room. Check out the world’s largest cave in Vietnam or the Zhāngjiājiè national forest park in China in 360 degrees. You can also venture to the southern end of South America to see breathtaking vistas in Patagonia. Fly over the dunes of the Namib Desert in Namibia or watch a show of the northern lights in Sweden.

Dig Into a Garden
One of the easiest ways to commune with nature from home is by creating a garden. It doesn’t matter if you prefer blooms over broccoli — gardening includes everything from cacti to terrariums. Just make sure that you choose an appropriate gardening activity for your situation. Even so-called “easy” trees and plants such as the Money tree, require specific care

You don’t need an expansive yard for a garden, either. A small patio or windowsill is enough to start a container garden. Countertop hydroponic systems make it easy to create an herb garden in your kitchen.

Camp in the Backyard
There is something about campfires and s’mores under the stars that can heal the soul. Even if you can’t make it out of the city, staying in a tent or your travel trailer in the backyard can be a great way to disconnect and feel a part of nature.

If you want to be more comfortable you can run an extension cord to your rig to run the air conditioning, radio, and keep the drinks cool in the refrigerator. When you wake up in the morning you may forget for a few minutes that you are enjoying nature in your own backyard.

Immerse Yourself in Nature Sounds
If you find yourself missing the sounds of the wild or wish to be transported to an untamed place, check out some nature soundscapes online. You can put yourself to sleep to an eight-hour recording of birdsongs over a river or the sound of a forest at night. There are hours-long sounds of ocean waves, thunderstorms, rainforests, and more. Despite being unable to travel at the moment, there are many recordings that allow you to close your eyes and go outside.

Use Common Scents
It may not be quite the same as a visit to a campground, but using natural fragrances can create a connection to nature. Essential oils in a diffuser give a hint of gardenia or eucalyptus. An earthy-scented candle can evoke the woods or a coastline, while a floral candle can bring you hints of jasmine or rose. The sense of smell is strongly linked to memory, so tapping into a natural scent can bring back fond memories of familiar outdoor places.

Connecting with nature isn't a walk in the park right now. But unlike the time spent scrolling through the news or social media, time spent tapping into nature is calming and a useful reset. While this is no substitute for traveling, we hope it will inspire you when you do get on the road again.

Author Bio: Cynthia Shackleton is an Ohio native and freelance writer who enjoys gardening and making summer RV trips along Lake Michigan with her motorcyclist husband and two fur babies.
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