Nature can feel a long way from home when you live in a city. Busy roads, bustling streets and endless concrete can make it feel as though there’s little room for wildlife to flourish.
The good news is that there are actually a great number of ways you can connect with nature, even when living in a city. You just need to know where to look.
How to connect with nature in a city
Practice sky watching
The endless sky is ever present, but so often, we forget to take the time to stop and marvel at it.
Whether gazing through your window, or reclining in a park on a summer’s day, the sky is there waiting for us.
Try to take 10 minutes each day to pause and look at the sky. Watch clouds go by and notice their ever-evolving shapes, or take a moment to see if any birds are flying high. Take note of any interesting sights you spot, and notice how being present with the sky makes you feel in your body.
The same goes for night time. While stars can be tricky to see in places with light pollution, you may be able to spot the Moon. Notice the phase that the Moon is in, and how it appears in the sky. Is it bright and bold, or is it small and tucked behind clouds? A nightly journal can be a mindful way to monitor the Moon's movements.
No two moments of sky watching will be the same – sit back and enjoy nature happening right above your head.
Breathe it in
We often forget it, but human beings are part of nature too.
Observing and listening to your breathing can be one of the simplest ways to reconnect with your wild self when you’re living in the city. After all, the air we inhale and the carbon dioxide we release are all part of nature.
Take a moment to pause and notice the quality of your breath. Observe the rhythm, the depth and where you feel the breath in your body most.
Tune into nature
While the roar of traffic can be overwhelming in a city, nature sounds can come to the fore if we give them time.
Take a moment to pause and notice the sounds that fill the air around you. Maybe it’s the coo of a pigeon, or the buzz of a bee. Perhaps it’s the laughter of children from down the street.
Listen carefully and a full orchestra of nature sounds will emerge.
Grow a herb garden
Gardening has been credited with helping to improve health of people all over the world – so much so that UK GPs now prescribe gardening to treat conditions such as anxiety and dementia.
City homes often don’t have the luxury of a garden, but there is still plenty of opportunity for those with green fingers.
Having herbs on the kitchen windowsill is a simple way to start growing your own food at home. Basil, parsley and mint can be easily picked up from supermarkets and garden centres, and provide an array of fresh flavours to your cooking.
Cress is another simple staple to grow at home and makes a delicious addition to summer salads.
Go on a mini safari
Yearning for some animal interaction? There could be more to find on your doorstep than you realise.
Head out early in the morning, and you may catch a fox scouring the streets. Or head to the local park and notice what insects may be flying in the air, or crawling underneath your feet.
Cities are often a huge draw for a great number of bird species, too. Notice those that are flying above you, or nesting nearby. In time, you may become familiar with their behavioural patterns and calls, and how they interact with the world around them.