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5 Little Ways to Immerse Yourself with Nature While You’re Safe at Home

With all that is going on in the world today, and especially while spending much more time in our homes than usual, it is easy to forget that northern Wisconsin and UP Michigan are undergoing the quiet transformation from winter to spring.

It is crucial that we promote the health of ourselves, our families, and our communities by following our governors’ respective “Safer at Home” and “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders. In addition, some county officials urge seasonal residents to stay in their winter residences for the time being. These directives, combined with the between-seasons cabin fever—a common feeling, even during a perfectly normal March—might leave our bodies, minds, and spirits in desperate need of some fresh air. Regardless of what is happening in the world around us, here are five little ways that we can let nature in to uplift us.

5 Little Ways to Immerse Yourself with Nature While You’re Safe at Home

1. Go on a nature walk every day.

Movement and sunlight are essential to keep our minds and bodies healthy. While you are urged not to congregate in groups, you can enjoy a walk by yourself, with your dog, or with a family member who you live with, in your neighborhood. (As another option, Wisconsin state parks and trails will remain open during this time with fees waived. All playgrounds, however, are considered closed.) As you walk, pay special attention to how the scenery is changing each day. Notice how the snow is melting, how the bodies of water are revealing themselves under months of ice and snow, where there are hints of color popping on the trees and shrubs, and where there is new activity buzzing among the animals. Bring your phone or camera, and snap some photos (which you can admire later, when you’ve been staring at your computer screen for way too long) to help you see the subtle transformation happening in the world around you.

2. Let your computer or mobile device become a portal to the great outdoors.

You might not be able to travel physically right now, but there so many fascinating ways that you can travel virtually! For example, the National Park Foundation has collected several ways that you can escape to the national park that’s on your bucket list, right from your home.  Or embrace the stillness and serenity of bird watching (remotely). The website explore.org offers several live cams through which you can view birds from bald eagles to hummingbirds to great horned owls. (The site also features views of many other animals of all types.)

3. Start an indoor garden.

Having indoor plants is said to boost your mood and productivity (which is perfect for when you suddenly find yourself having to work from home) and decrease fatigue and anxiety. The act of gardening and relaxing in itself, and seeing new life growing and blossoming can help us to feel hope and a sense of accomplishment. Start a windowsill herb garden so you can add fresh herbs to your homecooked meals. Or plant some seedlings in pots that you plan on transplanting when it gets warmer outside. Welcoming a bit of greenery into your home will help brighten up your life a little.

4. Go stargazing.

There’s nothing like a little stargazing to calm your nerves and give you a little perspective. Here in northern Wisconsin and UP Michigan, many of us are blessed with dark night skies that are unpolluted by city lights and perfect for viewing stars. There’s a great opportunity to gaze into the skies coming up in April. The 2020 Lyrids meteor shower will last from approximately April 16 to April 25, with peak viewing estimated to be just before dawn on April 22. This meteor shower consists of extraordinarily bright shooting stars darting across the sky. During this event’s surges, there can as many as 100 meteors per hour!

5. Hang a bird feeder near your window.

When indoor life feels dull and dreary, there’s nothing like a few feathered visitors to cheer you up. You can find helpful tips to attract birds to your yard right here.

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