I love nature. Gardening, going for drives to check out beautiful scenery, visiting farmers markets, going for walks, these are all things that I love to do. I drag my family with me to all these activities, and despite their initial grumbling, they come along and end up having a great time.
Just as we get a natural high and feel great when we are out in nature, (Check out my earlier article on the positive effects of nature on our well being and health titled A Natural High), the same is true when we bring nature inside as well. Recent research has show that nature has positive effects on us even when brought inside our home or office. But how do we bring the big wide world of nature inside? There are so many simple, small, and easy ways to bring a part of nature into our indoor lifestyle that there really is no excuse not to do it – it will only make us happier and more productive.
I know it’s hard to think of bringing nature indoors especially in the winter months when there isn’t much to bring indoors. Flowers are done blooming, trees have dropped their leaves, and pretty much the entire garden has gone dormant.
What is the best way to still enjoy some greenery and flowers indoors? Do what I do, I go out and buy some fresh flowers from the grocery store every week and make a colorful bouquet to enjoy indoors. I look forward to my wintertime weekly purchase. That splash of natural color always perks me up.
Receiving a potted plant or a bouquet of fresh flowers is always a welcome sight at any time of the year. Hitesh’s office colleague Gerard from Switzerland was in town for a sales conference and stopped by to say hi a few days ago. Gerard brought with him a big bouquet of flowers from the flower market in San Francisco. They were so tightly bundled that when I opened them I had enough flowers for not just one bouquet but two large arrangements! This was the best greeting a girl could get on a cool winter afternoon 😀💐. Fresh flowers! What a treat! Thank you Gerard!
Picking up a potted plant or two can bring a bit of fresh natural beauty indoors as well. Potted plants give me a chance to water a few plants even though I can’t water my outdoor garden in the cold or in the rain. Watering my indoor plants makes me feel like I am doing a little bit of indoor gardening.
Here is another way to enjoy potted plants indoors, just bring in a few of your own potted plants from your garden and enjoy them inside over the winter months. This works especially well if you live in the colder regions. Bringing potted plants indoors is a great way to bring a bit of nature inside.
Take a look at a post I got back in December from a blogger I follow who lives in North Carolina. Her blog called floweralley.org sent this lovely post titled Preventing our own dormancy in the winter months which shows us how she prevents the garden dormancy from getting her to go dormant too in the winter months. This short article with pictures has her ideas for how she brings nature inside when their temperatures dip down in North Carolina. Check it out Preventing our own dormancy in the winter months
A few days ago I got a cool article from our local Summerwinds Nursery titled 5 Tips For Healthy Houseplants During the Winter Months. What a timely article 🌿😊. The tips they provide are easy to implement and guarantee a successful indoor garden over the winter months. Check out their link for a quick tutorial on the five best ways to keep your indoor plants healthy and happy. 5 Tips For Healthy Houseplants During the Winter Months.
One more way to bring nature indoors is to have a bowl of fruits on the counter at all times. Apples, oranges, pears, and lemons come in vibrant colors that will definitely give a pop of natural color to any counter space, and encourage us to eat a fruit or two as well 😀😀.
Even foraging for beautiful bare branches and displaying them in a cluster in a vase can bring a touch of nature inside and gives these humble branches the chance to show-off their transparent natural beauty.
Whether they are just displayed in a vase or displayed with a few embellishments, bare branches always get a “This is so beautiful” reaction from friends and family.
The cool thing about these branches with lichen is that when they are freshly picked in the winter they have a wonderful olive green color, while as they age and summer rolls around, the lichen turns a gorgeous golden yellow and orange in color. With these lichen branches you get a natural “changing of the season” type of color display and enjoyment for many months.
When I visited my friend Radhika over the holidays, I saw a very creative idea to bring a bit of nature inside. Radhika had cut a few sprigs from multiple bushes in her backyard, some of them with berries too, and just placed them in a decorative bowl. It was such a lovely organic natural arrangement that it really caught my eye.
Radhika even had little sprigs and berried branches placed here and there in little decorative plates and candleholders. All of these winterberries and twigs brought a touch of nature in such wonderfully unexpected ways.
When Radhika gave me her presents for our family she had tucked a few sprigs of these berried branches and pine needles as gift toppers too. These twigs and berries dried up so beautifully that I saved them and displayed them on my little sofa end table.
The concept of biophillia: I did a book review a while back on a book called The Healing Garden. Gardening for the Mind, Body, and Soul by author Gay Search. In this book author Gay Search cited a 1980s research study called the Green Gym Project that came up with the concept of biophillia. What the study found is that when people worked outside in their gardens, their overall quality of life including mental and physical health improved.
Biophilia is the notion that we as humans have a biologically based attraction to nature, and our quality of life is to an extent dependent on how we interact with it. That is why when we are outside gardening or walking or enjoying nature, our mental and physical state is more at peace.
Interestingly in a more recent article on bringing nature indoors titled The positive effects of nature in the workplace from bbc.com, they cite biophillia as the reason employees feel better and are more productive at work when they are surrounded by indoor plants and nature oriented spaces. To quote the article: “It’s all based on the principle of biophilia — the instinctive affinity that humans have with the natural world and other living systems.”
Plants in the office make people happier and more productive: The positive effects of nature in the workplace This article from bbc.com shares with us the science of how nature has the same “feel good” effect on us even when we are inside as it does when we are outside. To quote the article: “Time to put a plant on your desk? Science shows incorporating nature in the workplace improves everything from worker happiness and creativity to the bottom line.”
The article discusses how the positive effects of nature indoors range from employee happiness, to increased creativity, increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and creates an environment that makes the workplace an inviting space that attracts new talented employees. This article also cites a recent 2015 research study conducted by Cary Cooper CBE, professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester, who did a study on the impact of biophilia in the workplace. This study surveyed 7,600 workers in 16 countries and found that even small nature-inspired changes can have large positive impact.
If you work for long hours in the office, this is a wonderful article to read on how you can make small nature-oriented changes to your cubicle or office space to create a more positive mind-set at work that can make you more productive and happier. Try incorporating some of these tips in your workspace in the New Year. The positive effects of nature in the workplace
Bottom line: It’s all about nature, nature, nature, and our environment. We are at the end of the day a product of Mother Nature, and we do feel the need to connect with our beautiful natural environment. What better way in the winter months to connect with nature than to bring a bit of nature indoors?
So how about the next time you are at the grocery store or florist, picking up a potted plant, an orchid, or a bouquet of flowers to bring a bit of natural joy to your home or office space.
🌼🌿Enjoy a bit of nature inside🍃💐