Better Together

Keep the Health Benefits of Summer Going Strong

Deep into the sultry dog days of summer, it may seem like this hot, humid weather will last forever. But in only a few short months, the flowers will be spent, the trees bare and the days short and chilly.

That’s when many of us will wish there was a way to extend the lush beauty of the growing season. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to brighten the fall and winter days ahead by bringing touches of nature indoors. 

Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ve already experienced how tiresome it is to spend more time than usual at home. That’s why thoughtfully incorporating natural elements can make a huge difference. Not only do they add life and beauty to your apartment, but they also provide significant health benefits. Being confined indoors is difficult for many people—especially those who enjoy an active lifestyle. That’s because humans are wired to appreciate the natural world. Being in green and blue outdoor spaces has a measurable effect on mental, physical and social wellbeing. Perhaps not coincidentally, rooms painted those colors also tend to make people feel more relaxed. 

Studies have identified other important benefits associated with the natural world, including improved physical health, enhanced memory, increased vitality and even longer life.

Here are several easy ways to add nature to your home turf: 

Embrace green, growing things—Who doesn’t love a bouquet of fresh blooms on a gray winter day? Or a voluptuous green plant spilling over a window sill or table? Ensuring that your home environment is alive with flowers and green plants will benefit you in a number of ways. Plants help improve mood and concentration, and also heighten feeling of compassion. 

If plants and flowers appeal to you, you have many choices beyond a standard grocery store bouquet. Green plants are quite easy to grow, as long as you pay close attention to the plant’s light and water requirements. Try taking cuttings of your outdoor plants or simply bring a potted plant indoors. Annuals that do well indoors include lantana, fuchsia, begonias and geraniums. If you prefer tasty foliage, herbs that are grown from seeds or uprooted from an outdoor garden can flourish indoors with proper care. Generally speaking, a south or east-facing window is the best choice. Just remember to water them whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. 

Talk a virtual hike through a faraway locale—Just pop in a DVD or make a selection on YouTube and you can soon be winding through an ancient forest, strolling down the main street of a picturesque English village or thrilling to the exotic landscape of the Africa steppe. Walking in place can make the experience even more beneficial. 

Listen to nature sounds—Looking for a simple, healthful way to relax? Recordings of woodland sounds are more effective than guided meditation, and nature sounds are more effective than white noise in achieving relaxation and a sense of well-being. A wide range of nature recordings are available on apps or CDs. 

Bask in the light—While the long days of summer provide lots of opportunities to enjoy the positive benefits of natural sunlight, natural-light lamps can provide a similar benefit during the dark winter months by enhancing mood. Appropriate lighting also aids seniors whose eyesight is declining. Additional task lighting, cooler-colored lighting and lighting that approximates natural light (and promotes restful sleep) are key. 

At Friendship Village, the beauty of nature is always just steps away—no matter what the season. From the large pond that changes with the seasons to water fountains and the tree-filled atrium, residents can enjoy the year-round benefits that nature offers. Indoors, large windows allow maximum sunlight and natural surfaces like stone and wood create a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. Even in isolation, you can drink in nature wherever you are. 





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Across the Ages

Posted on Jul 16, 2020