If you don’t have a dog and would like to spend time with one, you can offer to be a pet sitter in your local neighbourhood, volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter, or ask to borrow a friend’s dog for occasional evening or weekend walks.
You can try birdwatching by hanging a bird feeder outside a window, or if there’s space and you have permission, you could build a small wooden nesting box on a tree or under a windowsill.
To help connect with animals, you can watch out for wildlife. If you don’t live near open countryside, try visiting a local park to look for squirrels, fish, insects, ducks and other birds. Visit a local community or city farm and help out by volunteering.
You can get out into nature and help the environment by going on a litter-picking walk, volunteering for a conservation project, planting helpful seeds such as berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bees, or building an animal habitat.
Hill walking or camping can help to reduce depression and anxiety. When out in nature, you will be focused on staying warm, fed, watered, and knowing where you are, leaving your mind free of daily stresses so you can spend your time being in the moment.
If you’re going out on your own for longer than you usually would, or walking somewhere you don’t know well, plan ahead and keep safety in mind. Let someone know where you’re going and for how long, and take a fully charged ‘phone with you.
If you want to spend more time outside, you can eat a picnic in the garden or a park, watch the stars, let the outdoors inspire you creatively such as drawing or poems, or find things to see and touch, like grass under your feet or the feeling of wind.
You can use a glass jar to make a mini garden (“terrarium”) for your desk, using plants, soil, stones and anything else you’d like to include. Some people like to add seashells, or plastic toys or figurines.