What if your doctor prescribed time in nature? Carly McCarvill and Grace Cromwell created this handy list of options for getting in touch with nature on the Colgate campus (but it works just about anywhere)…

Get out, regardless of the weather and feel the exhilaration of wind, snow, rain, sunshine, or whatever it may be — on your face 

Use an old notebook (not your phone) and “write to yourself,” sketch or jot down your thoughts and feelings, adding insights about nature or yourself as you go on a walk 

Play like an eight year-old! Why not build a den or get together with friends and play the games you used to play outside?

Borrow a dog and take it for a walk or play!

Make natural paintings on the snow using natural materials like sticks, stones, and leaves– leave it for the elements to take away

Find a bud on a tree… feel the texture 

Clouds are often described as wispy (cirrus), heaped (cumulus) and layered (stratus). What clouds are in the sky today? 

Ask a tree a question, be patient and wait for its answer

Find a place outdoors where you feel safe to just “be” – try to be still in nature for three minutes and notice how you feel 

Make a sound map –  take something to write on outside, place an “x” in the center to represent you, then illustrate or represent the sounds you hear around you using marks on the page 

Solitude in nature clarifies thought – carve out some time to yourself and go explore somewhere you’ve never been before 

Notice every bird you see 

Write a worry onto a stone and throw it into the lake

Re-wild one of your senses – smell everything in nature 

Look back on your year and recognise how far you have come. 

Get out of Case and go walk down Willow Path, don’t take out your phone until you’re back inside

Ask your doctor for a different kind of mental health prescription and see what happens… (see image below)


3 Replies to “Nature Prescriptions

  1. Carly and Grace, this list was just what I needed right now. With everything that has been happening around us I have found one of the best and only ways to get out is to experience nature. You both provided some fantastic and ways to do so that I have never thought of before. I also really appreciate the ways in which these items address stimulating the various senses and not just seeing but feeling, listening, and hearing as well. I think nature has provided me with perspective in this time that I otherwise would have lost. It is really good to get out and see that nature is still functioning, the trees are blooming and there is more to the world than what seems to be controlling it at this very moment. Thank you so much for this piece and stay well.

  2. Hi Carly and Grace, thanks for putting this list together! I love the way in which these items apply specifically to Colgate but could be practiced anywhere. I have found that getting outside has provided me with such a break from the constant chaos that may seem to be our current lives right now. It really seems to put everything into a better perspective, and every time I seem to think about how thankful I am that I live somewhere which provides me with the opportunity to be outside while still remaining safe. Thanks for sharing this!

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