by Sophia Heller
In March 2020, Coronavirus became a new reality that has claimed millions. The mystery of the dangers that COVID-19 is capable of, is the unanswered question that awaits its response from society. Safety precautions are put in place in order to prevent the spread of the virus and limit Covid cases, in a short period of time a whole new perception of “normal” changes. Isolation, masks, lockdown, social distancing, living in a pandemic, all become our new norm. The safety measures we must take to protect one another cause unprecedented shifts in human activity. As a result, our lives change drastically.
The revaluation of the importance of nature…
As COVID rages around the world, it shatters our lives as we know it. Work is no longer, our education shifts to online, social distancing rules are launched. A rare moment that occurs in humanity, reflection. The world has come to a halt and we are offered an opportunity to reflect upon it. We question the importance of the things that revolve around us, one of them being nature. We are allowed to reevaluate how nature can benefit our well-being in these tough times.
More time outdoors
The pandemic triggered increased rates of anxiety and depression and this caused people to seek comfort from nature. The Office of National Statistics shows the increased use of visiting nature by people in the pandemic. These spaces were used 33% more than before the pandemic. Additionally, The Washington Post highlights the increase of national and state park visits ever since the pandemic “October was up 14% at Shenandoah National Park, 16% at Amistad National Recreation Area and 55% at Catoctin Mountain Park.” Individuals have been connecting with nature more frequently.
Not only have we connected ourselves more with nature, but we have also gained an appreciation for it too. It is reported by the Countryside Charity organization that 57% of people came to the conclusion that nature provides mental health benefits.
Students connecting with nature
Norah Jacobson, a 9th-grade student attending Zurich International School, highlights the positive aspects of living in a pandemic, and how it has influenced her perceptions and daily activities. Before the pandemic, she describes her life as “repetitive, overwhelming, lack of opportunities, and confused.” She was looking for a change, and when the pandemic hit she wanted to rebuild her life. Norah took advice from her mother to build a better relationship with nature and visited her local forest. She expresses this experience as “feeling at peace” and after this, she says that her visits to the forest increased each week because she found it rejuvenating to be outdoors and thought it was vital to incorporate nature into her life ever since.
Mia Renna, a high school student, describes her experience with the pandemic as being given several opportunities to expose herself to nature and gain a connection with it as a coping mechanism in order to improve her mental health. When the strict Covid rules were integrated into our lives she exclaims “Each passing day began to get worse for me” she says this was because she was dependent on human interaction to gain energy, contain a stable state of her mental health, etc. When it became scarce due to the strict safety measures, she needed to find other ways to reciprocate that feeling. Therefore, she sought guidance from nature. The image on the left shows Mia embracing the outdoors when she sought peace. She says “Nature allowed me to take a break from reality and have time to focus on myself.” She saw the benefits that nature could provide and established what nature can do for her during these Covid times.
The pandemic gave me an opportunity to gain a connection with nature.Mia renna
The pandemic has given me a wake-up call to enjoy nature and see how much of an impact it can have on meNorah Jacobson
Reflect and reconnect
As the world stops ticking and we come to a halt. The presence of reflection is introduced, we are allowed to actually think about our lives and the dynamics that we share within them. Challenging our perceptions and thoughts. As we question the things all around us, one of them being nature. Over a short period of time, we have been able to connect with nature on a deeper level. We unite as the pandemic has made several individuals realize the positive benefits nature can provide for our well-being. Now you must ask yourself, how will you reconnect with nature?