Fight cabin fever, connect with nature

By Nadine Halili | Art by Saii Shah

With the coronavirus pandemic, many are struggling to cope with stress and uncertainty. Those who are privileged enough to stay at home have sought activities like working out and other self-care routines to handle stress. But for those who have had to cancel their outdoor plans, it can be especially upsetting not to get their nature fix this summer. Luckily, these nature and outdoor live streams are available for free. 

 

Explore

This site features hundreds of livestream cameras from all over the world. Considered one of the most popular nature livestream services, you can watch an African wildlife, polar bears in Alaska, hummingbirds in California or pandas in China. The livestream videos can be accessed through Explore’s site or its YouTube channel.

American Eagle Foundation

If you are fond of eagles, you can watch the growth of the majestic birds through this YouTube channel. The American Eagle Foundation features livestreams and other documentaries about the different species from birth to adulthood. 

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Most zoos around the world are now closed due to the health crisis, but this national zoo in Washington, DC has provided a 24/7 livestream of its animals. You can view naked mole rats, lions, pandas and elephants to see how they’re doing.

Watching nature videos may also remind you of the smell and the good memories you’ve had with nature, making it all the more personal and relaxing

The Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you like marine life and aquatic animals, viewing live footage of this aquarium can soothe your senses. You can browse through the many live cams showing sharks and coral reefs as if you’re really swimming with them down there. 

El Capitan, Yosemite

Aside from animals, you can also view a livestream footage of the summit of El Capitan at Yosemite. The rock formation—famous among climbers for its challenging vertical granite surface—can now be viewed from the comforts of your home. 

Although this can’t compare to the real thing, studies have shown that simply watching clips of nature or the outdoors versus urban environments can help your mind recover from stress. Watching nature videos may also remind you of the smell and the good memories you’ve had with nature, making it all the more personal and relaxing.

In addition, a 2017 study from the University of California at Berkeley revealed that aside from concern for the environment, participants felt feelings of awe, happiness and reduced stress after watching clips of nature-documentary series “Planet Earth II.” If you consider yourself an indoor person, these livestreams can help you to understand what outdoorsy people have been raving about. After all, they’re free and you can exit the site at any time.

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