Self-isolation wellbeing – turn to nature

Promote Your School encourages those in education to bring nature indoors for better mental health

Self-isolation wellbeing is more important than ever in light of the government’s decision to close schools, except to vulnerable pupils and those whose parents are key workers, for the foreseeable future.

If you’re currently self-isolating due to the coronavirus outbreak, as a teacher, parent or student, it’s important to keep calm and remain positive. However, this can be a challenge when you’re stuck indoors every day!

Research has shown that spending time in nature can improve mental health and wellbeing but how can you enjoy the outdoors when you’re cooped up at home? Simple – bring nature to you!

How can nature improve our wellbeing?

According to the charity Mind: “Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers and exercising outdoors can have lots of positive effects. These include reducing stress, helping you feel more relaxed and improving your mood and physical health.”

This approach sounds good in theory but it’s more challenging if you don’t have a garden or are unable to leave the house due to self-isolation. Although, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to enjoy the benefits of nature from within your home.

Putting the theory into practice

At Promote Your School, we’ve seen first-hand the effects of incorporating nature themes into your indoor environment. Recently, we worked with RCZM Architects and Putney High School to support an innovative research project they undertook. The idea was to introduce plants and a nature-themed wall art mural (in collaboration with Matthew Cattell Photography) into the classroom to see if this could improve wellbeing in pupils.

One classroom was left unchanged, whilst the other was transformed with a nature theme. The outcomes of this study can provide us with some interesting takeaways for self-isolation.

Bring the outdoors indoors

1. Invest in air purifying house plants
Putney High School saw a 10% increase in air quality after introducing plants into the classroom. This is because many plants actually detoxify the air we breathe. A key tip to self-isolation wellbeing is investing in some lovely green houseplants that will not only improve your mood, but will make you physically healthier too!

Certain plants are easier to take care of than others. So, if you’re looking for something low maintenance, stick to succulents like aloe vera for all the benefits with none of the hassle.

2. Open the windows
Opening the windows is a great tip for self-isolation wellbeing and is a great way to bring nature into your home. There is no artificial substitute for fresh air! Open the windows, breathe in and take the time to appreciate the sounds, sights and smells of the outdoors coming in. Benefits of fresh air include improving digestion and lowering blood pressure, to cleaning your lungs and strengthening your immune system.

3. Bring nature to your walls
A key aspect of self-isolation wellbeing is your visual environment. Bringing nature to your walls can have a positive impact on your mental health. Consider printing out pictures of trees, animals and greenery and placing them on the walls of your home.

Ninety-six per cent of students at Putney High School expressed positive attitudes towards the new design of the classroom. Seventy-eight per cent of pupils expressed that they actually ‘felt healthier’.

Teachers say they love teaching in the nature-themed classrooms too. With such great results, it’s clear that incorporating nature into your indoor environment can have an overwhelmingly positive effect.


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