How often and for how long would you say that you get outside on a daily basis? With the exception of those who work outside or have active pups that love long walks more than anything, the rest of us would probably admit to not getting outside as often or as long as we probably should. That may be even more true during unfavorable weather conditions.

If you can’t put yourself outside quite as often or as long as you’d like, then you can bring part of the outdoors inside your own home. Doing so will help you reap some of the great mental and physical health benefits that only Mother Nature herself could offer.

Get a few air-purifying houseplants.

Houseplants aren’t just made to look nice in empty corners and on bare side tables. When you select the right one, it will quietly work in the background to purify the air in your home of harmful toxins. The “spider plant” is one such species known for its air-purifying power, and best of all, it’s a plant species that’s super easy to maintain.

Start an indoor herb garden.

You don’t have to have a huge yard and green thumb to start gardening as a side hobby. There are lots small and dwarf types of herbs that can grow in tiny pots along practically any window sill in the daylight. You’ll learn a new skill, save some money at the grocery store and be able to enjoy homegrown herbs without the potentially bad side effects of pesticides frequently used on the produce you buy from the grocery store.

Let more natural light in.

Our biological clocks are programmed to keep us awake and alert during the daytime, and exposure to natural daylight has more effects on your health than you know. A Northwestern study found that office workers who were exposed to more light during the day slept better, engaged in more physical activity and experienced better quality of life overall compared to workers who were exposed to less natural light.

Open the windows as often as possible.

It isn’t always possible to crack a window during extremely hot or cold weather, but if you can stand being a little warmer or cooler than normal, you’ll be able to breathe in some fresh air without having to step outside. Fresh air revitalizes the brain, helping you to stay more alert and focused while fighting stress and anxiety. As an added bonus, you’ll air out your home in the process and save a bit on your heating or air-conditioning.

Use your favorite essential oils with a diffuser.

Toss those regular air fresheners or candles out and replace them with a diffuser and your favourite essential oils. A lot of commercially sold perfumed products release potentially toxic chemicals in the air that can be abosrbed the walls and fabrics in your home. Certain essential oils like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium, cedar wood and others are good natural alternatives that can offer great healing benefits when exposed to their aromas through the air.

Of course, these suggestions shouldn’t give you an excuse to avoid making a real effort to get outside more often so you can connect directly with nature. Keep in mind that you can’t ever replace the real thing, no matter how much of nature you’re able to bring into your home.