In a semester filled with Zoom classes and social distancing at home, students are spending more time indoors than in a normal semester. While drowning in homework or rushing from an in-person class to an online class at home, students may be passing right by an underrated stress reliever: the Grove. With the falling Magnolia petals and blossoming tulips, it is important for students to take a break from the intellectual world and enjoy the nature around them. The University of Mississippi’s beautiful campus offers easy access to nature for all students to enjoy, which means that UM students can incorporate nature therapy into their daily lives to combat the dreariness of online overload.
Nature therapy stems from the idea that people feel connected to the environment around them, so their environment has a large impact on them. One of its main goals is to take people out of hectic, man-made buildings and into Mother Nature. When looking at the evolution of humans, mankind has spent about 99% of its history surrounded by nature. The idea of bustling cities and corporate jobs has only been around for a fraction of the time that humanity has been on this earth, and the work environment of online meetings that we have become all too familiar with is a product of the last few years. Nature therapy can help students go back to their roots and enjoy the smaller things in life.
Nature therapy also decreases stress on the human body, encouraging people to focus on the beautiful plants, the chirping birds or even the rambunctious squirrels as a way to get out of their heads. When people are under a lot of stress from the outside world (like college), negative thoughts are common. Focusing on something calming like nature has the potential to reduce this negativity.
One recent study shows that being in nature for two or more hours a week can increase people’s health and psychological-well being. That is less than twenty minutes a day. In a normal year, this twenty minutes a day might be reached from chatting in the Circle with friends in between classes or walking across campus, but for students who have all or mostly online classes, finding time to be outdoors can be a challenge.
The Grove is an amazing place to participate in nature therapy. To implement nature therapy into your daily life, you can take a twenty-minute walk around campus or grab food from the Student Union for a picnic. Even if your schedule limits free time, consider studying in the Grove one day. This can create a good study habit while also allowing you to benefit from being outside. No matter what your schedule is, there is a way to incorporate nature into your life one step at a time.
Willow Crosby is a freshman majoring in accounting from Tupelo.