How to Commune with Nature When You’re Stuck Inside

Our gardens are our sanctuary, but when it’s perishingly cold outside or lashing with rain, how can we connect with nature on the inside.

With two small kids, I often have to be inventive. I scour Pinterest for inside ideas to find inspiration and an activity that will entertain for more than 20 minutes. But what about ME! How can I get some botanical benefits stuck inside?

I realised that I had most of the answers and came up with some more after pondering while spraying my houseplants.

Get some houseplants

I could write a book on the benefit of houseplants. Instead here’s a gif.

Houseplants = quiet contemplation / serenity / wellbeing / mindfulness / excuse to spin about.

You could invest in some plants that are happy inside over winter, but don’t mind being outside in the summer, like a citrus tree!

Or what about bringing something outside in. I’ve recently divided up some ivy and brought it inside to green up the kitchen.

Try some nature inspired music

Cosmo Sheldrake created an entire album of music from bird song (most of them endangered). It’s so hauntingly beautiful and is a great listen for young and old.

Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens is a good one for kids. Try getting them to move like each of the animals in each movement.

Make your own bird feeders

I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.

Kathi Hutton

We are about 95% plant based, but I bet like us you have a packet of suet lying around. If you do then mix it with some nuts and seeds and grated cheese and stuff it into any hangable object. Obviously, a coconut husk would be best, but they’re not on everyone’s weekly shop. A yoghurt pot would do.

Take a virtual tour of nature inspired art

If you like the European masters, try the National Gallery of Art’s True to Nature Virtual Tour of some of Giroux, Constable and Denis’ stunning landscapes. Moody landscapes and dramatic mountains fill these halls.

Or try the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul to see their exhibition simply entitled ‘Garden.’

Do you have a garden that is both useful and beautiful, that manifests and reflects your life, that facilitates you to ease your breath away from your frantic and exhausting daily routines, that lets you to discover your inner sublimity, that both makes you be brave and calm enough to confront the existential questions heard from your mind, and that gives you the answers to those questions so that you can lift your soul and mind and take a stroll in freedom with no burden on your shoulders? Garden is MMCA Seoul’s Answer to this question.

Garden — National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

You could also zoom into a Monet or Van Gogh’s The Gardener.

Watch a Hayao Miyazaki movie

You may be familiar with Spritied Away, from Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli team — it won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. But have you watched the rest of Miyazaki’s magical movies? 

Most have an underlying critique of humanity’s treatment of nature, but his illustrations also celebrate the magic of the natural world too. A lot of the underlying mythology centres around the Shinto tradition of Kami no Yo — where man lived in harmony with nature. Similar to Adam and Eve, man destroys his relationship with the garden/nature through war, corruption, greed and selfishness! 

It may sound like heavy stuff, but you cannot help but be captivated by these films. Years and years of love and detail are poured into these films and they meander slowly through the plot allowing you to appreciate every leaf and acorn.

Try My Name is Totoro, Ponyo, or Howl’s Moving Castle. Pom Poko, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke are a more harrowing take on the slow decline of nature and environmental degradation but still a great watch.

All of the Ghibli movies have now arrived on Netflix, so check them out.

Take a gardening course

I highly recommend Container Gardening with Chris Beardshaw. Check out my review here.

The Learning with Experts courses include lots of gardening courses which you can take at your own pace. From garden design to bulbs to the RHS horticultural courses.

Grow some sprouts

Having something fresh to eat that you’ve grown can be a mood booster and sprouts can give you a massive nutritional boost!

Plan your future garden

I love planning what the garden will look like in the spring and summer. I make notes of what to put in the veggie patches, what to move, what to plant, what to avoid.

Pouring over garden catalogues filled with the promise of blowsy blooms or bounteous harvests can definitely bring a bit of light to the gloom.

Remember your happy place in the summer. Look at your photos, eat your preserved harvest. And then watch this!

Plan some Christmas Botanical swags

Think wreaths, balls, garlands, table centrepieces. Bring nature inside to give a natural look to your home this Christmas.

My wreath made at a workshop run by Memento in Belfast

Check out my Christmas Botanical themed Pinterest board here for some more inspiration.

I hope you manage to bring some nature into your home this autumn and winter – to make things a bit more bearable.

This will be me…morphing into a houseplant – or becoming Queen of the Plants! Mwah ha ha!

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