The last few weeks have brought a lot of stressful changes to all of us in Clark County, WA. With the outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus), our lives have been turned upside down. And while the effects of this pandemic are far and wide (particularly, as it happens, in the state of Washington), this doesn’t mean you need to or should stay indoors obsessively watching the latest news. 

Should we all be well-informed as to the facts of this outbreak? Absolutely! Is it good for our emotional well-being to spend all of our time inside absorbing every breaking story and developing detail? No, and unfortunately this can actually cause us all a great deal of added stress. 

Get outside! Even if it’s right outside your door.

Even while social distancing, you can take a mental health break from the news and spend some time in your yard enjoying the green grass, the springtime flowers, and the budding trees. Just 20 minutes in nature (either in a big outdoor greenspace or simply in that of your backyard) can change your mental outlook for the better and give you the perspective you need to stay in a positive state of mind. 

Research shows that getting outside reduces stress and increases self-esteem for children too. So if you have children take them outside to find bugs or smell the flowers. Make a bouquet. Braid grass. Pull weeds. It is a great break for both of you. 

Give Yourself A Break (From Your Tech)

Hey, we know it’s not easy, but we all have to do it from time to time — especially right now: Put down your phone. Turn off your TV. (We know. We know. What are you supposed to do, right? But, please, hear us out.)

Go outside. Take a few deep breaths. Sit and listen to the birds. Feel the breeze. Enjoy the feel of the grass in your toes. Get outside and get outside of yourself just by paying attention to nature for a little while. Just 20 minutes outside in your yard can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve your overall sense of energy. 

More doctors understand the value of getting outside and are writing prescriptions for getting outdoors (for those ailments it’s relevant to, naturally). It’s not a cure-all, but it can help you — and it’s free! Make spending time outside a priority. Schedule it as a standard part of your day. Think of it as your “stress-free zone” and an opportunity to create new, good habits for yourself and your loved ones. 

Gardening, pulling weeds, or pruning provides a rhythmic movement that helps clear your head. Plants have no expectations of you. You can turn a chore into a healthy meditation. You might just find yourself most looking forward to this above every other part of your day!

Enjoy the View (Even in the Rain) 

We know that the Pacific Northwest is notorious for its rain. But the view from your window has health benefits too. If you’re someone who is able to work from home during this time, consider strategically positioning your desk or your workspace in front of a window with a great view of the outdoors. Opening a window to let the fresh air from your yard breeze in is always a great pick-me-up even when you can’t get outdoors, and simply being able to absorb the view can be of great benefit. 

Similarly, a well-placed water feature you can view from your living room or kitchen is just the thing to decrease anxiety and stress. 

Even if you don’t have a water feature you can still create a rainy day yard design that improves your mood. Plant flowers and other visually appealing plants for maximum visual enjoyment on the days you can’t get out. Smaller yards aren’t left out, either! We just need to be a little more imaginative with our space. For instance, you can design a potted plant space that gives you a boost, or possibly invest in hanging or climbing plants that grow beautiful leaves, flowers, or fruit that still comfortably fit in your yard. 

Looking after plants gives us focus. It fosters a respect for nature. But green thumbs don’t happen overnight. Be realistic and set appropriate expectations for yourself. This doesn’t need to be elaborate. Start small. One pot of flowers or a hanging basket outside your favorite window is healing.  

Outdoor living is outdoor healing. 

Isn’t it time for you to live in the yard you love? We build the best in landscape design in the greater Portland, OR area, and we want to help you achieve the peace of mind you deserve — right now and beyond. Call us today to learn how we can help you realize your outdoor dreams!