What nature ideas could I try?
This page has some tips and suggestions for enjoying nature:
- grow or pick food
- bring nature inside
- do activities outdoors
- help the environment
- connect with animals
Don’t worry if some ideas don’t feel right for you – see if you can find some that do, or adapt one to suit you.
Grow or pick food
- Create a growing space. If you don’t have access to a garden, you could plant salad leaves or herbs in a window box or plant pot.
- Plant vegetables in your garden. (E.g. the Gardening Resources page from Green Queen has information to help you get started.)
- Grow food together with others. Apply to share an allotment, or look for community gardens or food growing projects in your local area. (See the LCSD’s Community Garden programme website for more information.)
- Go fruit picking. Look for or orchards that let you pick fruit to buy. You might also find fruit growing in urban spaces, for example wild blackberries.
- Learn to find edible plants, also known as food foraging. You could see if a foraging group meets in your local area.
Quick tip: if you’re going fruit picking or foraging, be aware that not all wild plants are safe to eat. Before eating something you’ve picked yourself, make sure you know exactly what it is.
“I very much enjoy being part of a community garden. It gives me a regular weekly time to devote to being outdoors, to work alongside people of lots of different ages and nationalities and teaches me a range of new skills and techniques. It is fantastic to work as part of a larger group, to see positive results in terms of seed and plant growth and harvest and to feel part of the natural cycle of life and see biodiversity at work.”
“I started out by just finding an empty and unused space in the garden outside my window and tending to it.”
Bring nature inside
- Buy flowers or potted plants for your home.
- Collect natural materials, for example leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds – use them to decorate your living space or in art projects.
- Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky.
- Grow plants or flowers on windowsills.
- Take photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as backgrounds on a mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
- Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall.
Quick tip: save glass jars and use them to make mini gardens (also known as terrariums), using plants, soil, stones and anything else you’d like to include. Some people like to add seashells, or plastic toys or figurines.
“I use photography as a creative outlet to express myself and support my health and wellbeing… It helps you to really see, to be mindful in the moment and rediscover the beauty in your own surroundings. For example, noticing and capturing the resilience of a flower growing with determination though a crack in concrete, or capturing the beauty of raindrop patterns and formulations. The process of observing the outside world breaks the cycle of being caught up with negative internal dialogue.”
Do activities outdoors
- Take a walk in green space, such as a local park.
- Get creative. Draw or paint animals or nature scenes, or let them inspire a poem or song lyrics. If you enjoy writing in a journal, try doing this outside.
- Eat meals outdoors. Have a picnic in a local park, or simply sit in a garden. This might be something you could enjoy doing with other people.
- Watch the stars. Use a stargazing website, app or book to help you recognise different stars, or simply enjoy looking at the night sky. Give your eyes time to adjust, as it can take about 20 minutes before you can fully see stars in the dark.
- Try exercising outside. Run or jog through a local park, or do yoga outdoors. You could try it by yourself, or look for classes in your local area.
- Join a local walking or rambling group. (See the Hong Kong Hikers Group, Hong Kong Free Walk for more ideas.)
- Follow a hiking trail. (See the LCSD website on route information to look for woodland near you.)
- Go beachcombing. Visit the seaside and search the shoreline for interesting things.
- Try geocaching. Geocaching involves looking for items in hidden outdoor locations, using a device such as a mobile phone or tablet.
- Be mindful in nature. Find things to see, hear, taste, smell and touch, like grass under your feet or the feeling of wind and sunlight. You could also listen to recordings of mindfulness exercises. (Our pages on mindfulness and taking a mindful moment in nature have more information.)
Quick tip: if you’re going out on your own for longer than you usually would, or walking somewhere you don’t know well, plan ahead and remember to keep your safety in mind. If you can, let someone know where you’re going and for how long, and take your phone with you (making sure it’s fully charged).
“Hill walking and camping help to keep depression and anxiety at bay for my partner, as does trekking and gentle hill walking for me. When you are in nature only the real stuff matters (staying warm, staying fed, staying watered, and knowing where you are) … your mind is free of the daily stresses and you can spend your time being in the moment instead.”
Help the environment
- Go on a litter picking walk, for example, in the park or on the beach.
- Volunteer for a conservation project. (See WWF, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden and The Conservancy Association websites for some suggestions.)
- Plant helpful seeds, such as berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bumblebees.
“I started volunteering on Saturdays when I was in a really low frame of mind, and it really helped me recover more quickly. I work full-time in an office during the week so doing something so active in such a different environment is a lovely contrast.”
Connect with animals
- Watch out for wildlife. If you don’t live near open countryside, try visiting a local park to look for fish, insects, ducks and other birds.
- Visit a local community or city farm. You might be able to help out by volunteering. (See the Kadoorie Farm website for more ideas.)
- Hang a bird feeder outside a window. If there’s space, you could build a small wooden nesting box on a tree or under a windowsill.
- Try birdwatching. You don’t need any special equipment. (See the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society website for more information on watching birds.)
- Try pet-sitting or dog walking. Offer to be a pet sitter in your local neighbourhood, volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter, or ask to borrow a friend’s dog for occasional evening or weekend walks.
Considerations before getting a pet
Many people find caring for a pet brings lots of benefits, but you need to be sure your living environment and personal circumstances are right for the animal as well as you. If you don’t own your home, it’s also important to check if you’re allowed to keep pets.
(See the SPCA HK website for more information about pet care.)
“My biggest highlight from farming was probably getting to witness goat triplets being born a couple of years ago and help them feed for the first time – there’s nothing like literally witnessing the birth of new life to give you perspective and make you feel connected with something much bigger than yourself, which I find very comforting.”