A new report has revealed that a drop in the number of visits to nature has had a significant impact on the health of people in the UK. We look at the likely implications for freelancers
The report, which was commissioned by the Natural England government agency, found that the number of visits to nature has fallen by an estimated 1.1 million since 2020. This has led to a loss of around £390 million in health benefits, equivalent to £356 per person on average.
Disengagement with nature is growing just when it shouldn’t
The report also found that the downward trend in nature visits is likely to continue. This is because many people are now returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles, which often involve spending less time outdoors. This is particularly worrying for freelancers, who are often more likely than other workers to work from home and take on more projects. As a result, they may be even less likely to get outdoors and reap the health benefits of nature.
Make nature a part of your daily habits
The health benefits of spending time in nature are well documented. Studies have shown that time spent in nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost the immune system. It can also help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. And it’s free with no side effects.
For freelancers, the lack of access to nature can have a significant impact on their health and well-being. This is because stress, anxiety, and depression are all common among freelancers. Spending time in nature can help to reduce these symptoms and improve overall mental health. Find your nearest park or create a living garden in your home with house plants and tend to them each week. Even just listening to nature sounds on an app or from a YouTube video can help you relax.
In addition, freelancers are often more likely than other workers to suffer from physical health problems such as back pain and eye strain. This is because they often spend long hours sitting at their desks. Spending time in nature can help to improve posture and reduce muscle tension.
Ways freelancers can increase their exposure to nature
Freelancers should make time to appreciate nature on a daily basis. This could involve simply taking a few minutes each day to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.
- Taking regular breaks to go for a walk outdoors. Build it into your schedule like you would a client appointment.
- Grab your morning or mid-morning cup of tea or coffee and sit on a chair outside without your mobile phone.
- Working from a co-working space with outdoor space.
- Taking part in outdoor group activities such as gardening, hiking, camping, and swimming.
- Taking a walk can also help you solve work-related challenges and separate you temporarily from the “drama”, providing you with a new perspective on things.
By increasing your exposure to nature, you can improve your health and well-being and enjoy a more fulfilling life. This happens by building in the habit. Over time you will start to see and feel the difference.