Today’s world — with its constant barrage of technology, social media and stressful global information — can truly take its toll on the body and mind. Our eyes are blurry from screens, our necks tweaked from poor posture, our minds filled with FOMO as we gaze at other people’s perfect lives on social media. The need to unplug and connect with nature is even more crucial in this technology-dominated age. According to a report by Informate Mobile Intelligence, humans are glued to their smartphones and social media networks for an average of 4.7 hours a day. We check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. some 17-plus times a day. As an experiment, try keeping track of how many times you check social media per day or how many hours of screen time fill your day. And of course, there’s an app for that!
In reaction to the information overload and hyper technology use, new trends and movements are appearing, such as eco-therapy (also called green therapy), where therapists recommend contact with nature as a healing modality. In Japan, forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku (which translates as “taking in the forest atmosphere”) is a new trend involving stressed-out city folk wandering in the woods and immersing themselves in nature. And while strolls on the beach, walking meditations and treks on trails are all great ways to calm the mind and elevate the spirit, you can also bring nature inside the home. Simple visuals like fresh flowers, shells and even rocks can inspire tranquility and joy. Here are a few simple decorating strategies and creative activities that can evoke mindfulness and help you detox from technology.
One of the easiest ways to bring the magic of the outside indoors is with fresh flowers.
If you love the beach, collect seashells and add them to your plants or make an arrangement next to your bath tub. A simple piece of coral can serve as a great addition to a plant or serve as a base for a flower arrangement.
Pine cones add texture to a centerpiece for your table and can act as a visual cue for the calm of the forest inside your home.
Creating sand terrariums is another great zen activity. The result adds a little panache and brightness to any room. You can use cut flowers for bursts of bright color like this:
For anyone lacking a green thumb, succulents are the way to go. These sturdy little plants are low maintenance and extremely easy to care for. All you have to do is give them a gentle soak every 3 to 4 days and don’t water again until the soil is once again dry. It’s also best to have them in a pot with a hole on the bottom for drainage. Too much water is more harmful than less, so keep that in mind. And please remember — it’s never good to place a plant directly next to a window, as the glass can act as a magnifying glass and harm the plant.
Get creative and fill your home with visuals of joy and tranquility. Unplug and put your fingers in the dirt. Bring the outside in. It makes a difference.
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Journalist Ann Wycoff has written about wellness, fitness, longevity, travel, spas, food and wine for the past 20 years for magazines like Shape, Fitness, Spa, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living, Redbook, Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine, Redbook, Marin Magazine and more. She lives in Encinitas, California.
Image credit: Moni Boyd