Here at State of Liberty, our Home Retreats and wellbeing products are all aligned with the seasons. Bringing nature into your home is an effective way to help you feel connected to each new phase of the year and the natural rhythms of your day. Its presence encourages your body to adjust to the ever-changing outside world.
Trees and foraged greenery have long been used to decorate homes during winter. The ancient Chinese, Hebrews, and Egyptians viewed evergreens as symbols of eternal life. During the dark days of winter, European pagans ‘decked the halls’ with evergreen branches to symbolise renewal and hope.
As well as transforming your living space, research shows bringing nature into your home will support your wellbeing. Surrounding ourselves with direct or indirect elements of nature can alleviate stress and lower our blood pressure while also encouraging creativity and productivity.
Here are some of my favourite ways to bring nature into my home during winter…
Creating your own homemade wreath is the perfect opportunity to spend some time outside foraging in nature. Decorating with greenery not only fills your home with a seasonal scent, it’s an eco-friendly option that’s kinder to the planet and your purse. Once you’ve finished with your green décor, simply pop it in your garden waste or compost.
Wreath making has lots of positive wellbeing benefits. At this time of year, it’s invigorating to brave the cold weather, wrap up warm, and go walking in the woods or countryside. Both fresh air and movement are particularly important during the colder, darker months.
Gathering natural materials for a creative project also nurtures your innate curiosity as it helps you view your surroundings in a deeper, more meaningful way. Making the wreath itself is an opportunity to lose yourself in the joyful simplicity of ‘festive faffing’. It’s playful, creative fun you can enjoy on your own, with your children or while connecting with friends.
Creativity is a powerful form of self-care. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, making or doing something with your hands allows you to let your mind wander and relax. I’ve been enjoying Philippa Stanton’s new book, Consciously Creative. It’s the perfect reading material to brighten up these dark winter nights. Guiding us gently through the stages of developing and nurturing creativity, Phillipa reminds us of the beauty and pleasure to be found in simple things all around us, and how we can use them to spark our imaginations.
Although gardening is usually associated with outdoor spaces, you can experience many of the same holistic health benefits while gardening indoors. For example, spending a few minutes each day watering and tending to plants will provide you with consistent moments of calm.
The Christmas Rose is the real star of the winter garden. They’re quite happy indoors for a short time, as long as they’re kept cool and have plenty of light. They make beautiful table flowers for Christmas gatherings and come the new year, you can plant them in the garden. Just make sure the ground isn’t too cold and frosty. They should flower until spring and can be enjoyed for many more years to come.
‘The sowing of a seed is a primitive and primal joy, putting a plant in the ground and expecting to be there when it bloomed, fruited or swelled was a turning point in human evolution, and the start of home.’ – Grace Alexander
Planting bulbs, sowing seeds, and getting your hands dirty in soil is therapeutic, grounding and rewarding. Even in the depths of winter, there’s one flower you can start on its way – the sweet pea. If you plant them during the Christmas holidays, you’ll see flowers begin to bloom in spring and all summer long.
Gifting seeds is the antithesis of the landfill culture that can dominate the festive season. I also love the idea of giving friends and family something they’ll enjoy for months to come. Grace Alexander offers wonderful gift bundles containing four of the best sweet pea varieties for cutting. Grown in her flower field in Somerset, the seeds are packaged in beautiful recycled, handmade khadi paper.
Gardening in winter reminds us of the beauty found in nature even when everything is stripped back and bare. Plants and trees also show us that this is a time for resting, drawing inwards and nurturing ourselves. Bringing nature indoors during the festive season will enhance your wellbeing throughout the holidays, into the new year, and beyond. You can discover other ways to have a more mindful Christmas here.
Love Lizzie and the SOL team xx