The days are darker and it’s cold outside and gosh it’s hard, so hard, to motivate yourself to take the time to nurture yourself or be active each day. The gym might be right down the hall, and the yoga studio right across the street and all of the vitamins of the alphabet in your fridge might be calling your name. But you’re still ignoring them. Despondent, overwhelmed, and with every barrier in the book in your brain as to why not take action (you’re too tired, it’s cold outside and it’s cozy in here). Instead, you flop onto the couch in hibernation mode. Ah the classic, winter blues.
My soothing winter blues solution
For a couple of years now, when I feel this way I have turned to Nature Programs. My go-to is the BBC series Planet Earth with David Attenborough from 2001 or Planet Earth 2 (2016).
Catch these programs easily on Netflix, as well as BBC’s “Africa”, a fantastic follow on choice.
If you like water and find it as calming as I do, perhaps try “The Blue Planet” (2001) and enjoy an episode on “Coral Reefs”, or the “Ocean Deep.” David’s soothing, deep and comforting British voice will be like a warm balm to your nerves. You’ll be enveloped like a blanket into an otherworldly place, transported away from the traffic, the hustle, the bustle and any work woes you might be feeling. You’ll find your troubles wash away as you dive deeper into the animal kingdom’s magical dance of daily life. Like our own, they are beset with moments of joy and happiness like Springboks jumping in the rain, heartbreak when a mother loses an offspring to a predator, or triumph when a male antelope wins a mate by successfully overcoming his competitor.
But all set against awe inspiring scenic backdrops of majestic beauty, with a soundtrack that elevates you, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful meditative trance despite the inevitable ups and downs of the animal kingdom, and the sometimes harsh realities of nature.
Better yet, it’s backed by studies
While I thought I might be the only one to have discovered the secret of turning to nature to relax and unwind, a clever friend of mine sent me an article that prescribes just that. So it’s official, nature programs do improve your mental health and yes – you too can get all of the benefits of meditation “…just by watching Shark Week!”
Soon you’re getting up to get a nice cup of tea, pulling up a blanket and sinking in and feeling smug that you are indeed, taking good care of yourself by watching TV. Who knew?
Having said that, it does not mean you should ditch your mediation practice for good, stop exercising or socializing or taking your vitamins or anything else you need for your own mental health needs. But what it does mean, is that when you need a shortcut from an actual walk in the woods, a meeting with your yoga mat or Guru (because maybe it’s freezing on your planet) – BBC’s “Planet Earth” with David Attenborough is there for you.