Nature is more than magic. Nature is medicine.
Whenever I feel anxious, blue, or overwhelmed, I try to head outside. My boyfriend calls it “getting out of the house and out of my head.”
Research backs up my boo. Being outdoors is good for both body and soul.
When we walk in the woods or splash at the beach, we reap many physical benefits. Heart and pulse rates become less variable, blood pressure drops, cortisol (the stress hormone that triggers the fight or flight response) production slows and the immune system is strengthened. Studies have also shown that we can heal more quickly from injuries.
There are mental rewards of course: mood improves, focus sharpens and feelings of wellbeing, relaxation, and happiness follow.
So how can you introduce the therapeutic benefits of nature into your home—especially in your bedroom, the sanctuary where you recharge and rest? We’ve got some ideas to help you boost your wellbeing no matter what challenges the weather or the world at large holds.
Bring Plants Inside
Silk or (horrors!) plastic flowers make me shudder. But real greenery is life-affirming. Cacti, ferns, ivy, succulents and terrariums are all low-maintenance options. Fresh cut flowers are another mood-enhancer. Bonsai trees, small citrus, or palm trees are also popular choices. Respiratory bonus: plants are air-purifiers, especially the bigger, leafier ones.
Let the Light In
There’s a reason realtors always tout natural light. Bigger windows and well-placed skylights are bright and cheerful, and much better for you than artificial lighting. Sheers (versus heavy curtains) encourage the sun’s rays. I’ve found dimmer switches to be an inexpensive way to replicate twilight.
Incorporate Natural Materials
The warm, familiar textures found in nature have a soothing effect in home decor. Replace a glass and metal nightstand with a rattan one. Cotton kilims or a cowhide are superior to carpet. Ditto bamboo, cork, or reclaimed wood flooring. Grasscloth makes for visually interesting wallpaper. Straw or jute baskets and clay pots can also connect you to the natural environment.
Mimic Mother Nature’s Color Palette
The colors of the earth, sky and sea are naturally relaxing. Blues, greens and beige hues are all excellent choices for paint, furnishings, and linens. Accents like the fiery orange of a sunset provide visual interest. I have a bolster in sunshiny gold that both supports my back and lifts my spirits while I’m reading in bed.
Opt for Eco-Friendly Bedding
Nothing is more luxurious than enveloping your body in organic cotton sheets, fluffy down pillows and warm wool blankets. An eco-friendly mattress made with sustainable, natural materials is another excellent improvement. Upgrade your bedding and your body will thank you.
Curate a Nature Altar
I have altars throughout my home. I’m forever colleting earthy little treasures: rocks, feathers, pinecones, dried leaves and pods, shed antlers, bones and skulls, driftwood, seaglass and jars of sand. I also have a spider’s web preserved in lucite. Just handling these objects grounds me. A wooden bowl filled with lemons or limes can be equally inviting.
Hang Nature-Inspired Art
Wish you lived at the shore? Why not hang a photograph of your most memorable vacation beachscape in your bedroom? Paintings of colorful flowers or dramatic landscapes are always inspiring.
Clear the Clutter
Nature is expansive. The desert and the ocean are at once commanding and peaceful because both offer long, spacious sightlines. So what do you see when you look out your bedroom window? Marie Kondo your view: banish kids’ toys, gardening supplies and trash cans.
Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a view of a marsh or meadow or a mountain. If not, rearrange your bed or an armchair to optimize what you see. Hang a bird feeder or wind chimes to encourage Zen daydream time.
Copy That (Pattern)
The repeating patterns of fish scales, ripples in sand, wood grain, a butterfly’s wing, a Nautilus shell spiral and honeycomb are striking. That’s because their patterns are classically proportional…something to consider when it’s time to update upholstery.
With these “going green” tips, you can harness the healthier, happier benefits of nature’s healing power where it matters the most—in your own bedroom retreat.