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Relieve Stress -- Take A Nature Break

By: Sandra Nelson; Images Sandy DeFoe

I have been feeling incredibly stressed lately.  Unfortunately, when I am stressed, I just shut down which, of course, increases my stress level and renders me virtually useless. My “To Do” list gets longer and my “Done” list stays blank. The only way I can interrupt this cycle is to take a nature break.




Taking care of three extremely active toddlers severely limits where I can go and what I can do during the day. By the time they leave in the evening, I am too exhausted to go anywhere or do anything requiring much of a thought process. On top of that, our weather hasn’t been conducive to outdoor adventures — either it’s frigid or pouring!



Luckily for those of us who are somewhat house-bound, there are ways to interact with nature without leaving the comfort of your own home.



Here are a few of the ways I get my healthy dose of nature when I can’t make that trek into the woods or even the backyard. They make a difference in my life; I hope they will for you too.


13 Ways to Take a Nature Break


  • Plant an indoor herb garden on the kitchen windowsill.  Not only do you have fresh herbs all winter for cooking, you can enjoy the fragrances too.




  • Decorate with winter blooming plants like cyclamens and guppy plants instead of knicknacks.  Blooming plants will reward you with bright spots of color reminiscent of your summer gardens.




  • Hang a transparent window bird feeder. Within days, your feathered friends will be casually dining there – usually without visits from those pesky squirrels.




  • Feed the birds homemade suet cakes. By varying the add-ins, you can create specialty varieties that will attract many new and different kinds of birds.



  • Open the curtains and window shades to let in as much natural light as possible. Natural light is known to help counter seasonal depression.



  • Add a green wall or a small potted tree to a frequently used room. Trees and green plants contribute to clean, healthy air.



  • Install a tabletop fountain. The sound of moving water is soothing to the soul.



  • Find a spot for a fish tank. Watching them swim can be mesmerizing.




  • Use naturally occurring scents like lavender, mints, chamomile and cedars in diffusers and candles. Scent is the strongest of the senses and natural scents invoke a sense of well-being.



  • Include natural fabrics and colors from nature in your decorating. They project calmness and serenity.



  • Hang nature themed artwork. A collection of  images of familiar and beloved places will carry you back  each time you view them.



  • Take five minutes out of your day to just breathe and look out of the window. A view of the trees or even the sky helps to refresh your anxious spirit.



  • Create a terrarium with or without animals.Whether it’s a jungle or a desert, it will give you a taste of the outdoors.