Self-isolation wellbeing – turn to nature

Puney High biophilic design photo

Self-isolation wellbeing is more important than ever in light of the government’s decision to close schools for the foreseeable future. If you’re currently self-isolating due to the Coronavirus outbreak, as a teacher, parent or student,  it’s important to keep calm and remain positive. However, this can be a challenge when you’re stuck indoors every day!

Research has shown that spending time in nature can improve mental health and wellbeing but how can you enjoy the outdoors when you’re cooped up at home? Simple – bring nature to you!

How can nature improve our wellbeing?

According to the charity, Mind, “Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects. These include reducing stress, helping you feel more relaxed and improving your mood and physical health”.

This approach sounds good in theory but it’s more challenging if you don’t have a garden or are unable to leave the house due to self-isolation! Although, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to enjoy the benefits of nature from within your home.

Putting the theory into practice

At Promote Your School, we’ve seen first-hand the effect of incorporating nature themes into your indoor environment. Recently, we worked with RCZM Architects and Putney High School to support an innovative research project they undertook. The idea was to introduce plants and a nature-themed Wall Art mural (in collaboration with Matthew Cattell Photography) into the classroom to see if this could improve wellbeing in pupils. One classroom was left unchanged, whilst the other was transformed with a nature theme. The outcomes of this study can provide us with some interesting takeaways for self-isolation. 

Bring the outdoors indoors

1. Invest in air purifying house plants

Putney biophilic classroom

Putney High School saw a 10% increase in air quality after introducing plants into the classroom. This is because many plants actually detoxify the air we breathe. A key tip to self-isolation wellbeing is investing in some lovely, green houseplants that will not only improve your mood, but will make you physically healthier too!

Popular choices include Spider Plants, Peace Lily, Rubber Plants and Bamboo Palms. These plants can be popped in a pot and placed around your home, from the living room to the bathroom. Certain plants are easier to take care of than others. So, if you’re looking for something low maintenance, stick to succulents like aloe vera for all the benefits with none of the hassle. Just be very careful if you have cats and dogs in the house as certain plants are toxic to pets.

2. Open the windows

Open window

This one may seem obvious but sometimes we forget to do it. Opening the windows is a great tip for self-isolation wellbeing and is a great way to bring nature into your home. There’s no artificial substitute for fresh air!

Open the windows, breathe in and take the time to appreciate the sounds, sights and smells of the outdoors coming in. There are numerous benefits of fresh air, from improving digestion and lowering blood pressure to cleaning your lungs and strengthening your immune system.

3. Bring nature to your walls

Putney high biophilic Wall art

A really key aspect of self-isolation wellbeing is your visual environment. Bringing nature to your walls can have a positive impact on your mental health. So, consider printing out pictures of trees, animals and greenery and placing them on the walls of your home.

96% of students at Putney High School expressed positive attitudes towards the new design of the classroom. 78% of pupils expressed that they actually ‘felt healthier’. Teachers say they love teaching in the nature-themed classrooms too. With such a positive result, it’s clear that incorporating nature into your indoor environment can have an overwhelmingly positive effect.

To get you started, here are a few links to some other nature-themed Wall Art projects we’ve completed for schools. This rainforest theme for Frederick Bird Primary School is sure to brighten up your day. Or, perhaps you’d like to dive into an underwater theme, external woodland feature or a peaceful forest design to help beat any self-isolation blues. Feel free to save and print out any of the images you find in our portfolio and pop them up on your walls to help keep your spirits up during self-isolation (but please don’t print them for commercial use!)

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like some images sent to you.

Please note: If you are self-isolating due to suspected Coronavirus, this blog is intended to help with overall wellbeing and does not constitute medical advice. For any medical queries, please dial NHS 111 and for emergencies, call 999 immediately.