Has the Pandemic Changed our Relationship with Nature for the Long Term?

Has the Pandemic Changed our Relationship with Nature for the Long Term?
3rd December 2021 James Brooke

Has the Pandemic Changed our Relationship with Nature for the Long Term?

  • New research shows Brits have become much more appreciative of the great outdoors since before the pandemic and will continue to enjoy nature even through winter
  • More than half of us are prioritising wellbeing & mental health much more than pre-COVID times
  • 88% of us believe that connecting with the natural world improves wellbeing & mental health
  • We value rural holidays because they help us to unwind, rest and destress, spend time outdoors, discover new places and bond with friends or family
  • Almost three quarters of Brits are looking to holiday in the UK between now and the end of 2022, with over a fifth of us planning not one, but three or more staycations in that time

During the pandemic, we’ve had little choice but to holiday at home, discover local green spaces and landscapes and appreciate nature. As we adjust to our new and ever changing ‘normal’ it seems the need to enjoy the outdoors is here to stay – even through the winter months.

Research by Yonder.com – new travel brand offering responsible, authentic, nature-rich stays and experiences – reveals that more than half of Brits (52%) have become much more appreciative of the great British outdoors over the last 18 months, with 45% of the population planning on making the most of the UK’s natural beauty this winter by getting outside for a walk, hike or cycle. A hardy one in ten (11%) say they’ll be braving icy waters for some paddle boarding or wild swimming and nearly a fifth (18%) will enjoy outdoor fitness throughout the winter season.

Yonder wellbeing expert and chartered psychologist, Suzy Reading, believes that for many of us, the great outdoors provided some solace and respite from unwelcome news, unfamiliar restrictions, and the loneliness of periods of lockdown or isolation. Suzy says: “At such a bleak time, nature offered us all the perfect escape from everything going on. It gave us space, a change of scene, and an opportunity to reconnect, not only with our loved ones, but with the natural world around us. It also gave us a powerful antidote to the sensory overload we were all feeling after being glued to technology – whether for work, home-schooling or socialisation.”

What Brits love most about the colder months especially, are autumn colours (66%), fresh air (61%), winter landscapes (52%), long walks (43%) and frosty mornings (43%). And our commitment to outdoor living is evidenced by confirmation from nearly 50% of respondents that they’re investing more in outdoor kit (thermals, coats, waterproofs, camping gear, boots, wetsuits) than in previous years.

The survey also shows how more than half of Brits (55%) are now prioritising wellbeing and mental health much more than they were pre-pandemic.

“After the last two years, we’re acutely aware of the importance of protecting and prioritising our mental health”, says Suzy. “The collective experience we’ve all been through has drastically changed the way we look at our wellbeing and shown us how the outdoors plays a huge role in helping us maintain balance in such hectic world.”

So it makes sense that what we most value about rural holidays is the opportunity to unwind, rest and destress (46%), spend time outdoors (45%), discover new places (40%) and bond with friends or family (30%).

It’s clear that being outdoors makes us feel good. A whopping 88% of Brits believe that connecting with the natural world improves wellbeing and mental health. Benefits include feeling more positive, rejuvenated, energised, inspired, and/or less stressed.

Suzy says: “It doesn’t have to be a full-on itinerary or programme. Even a 15-minute stroll through a woodland or along the coast can do wonders to restore our equilibrium, instil a sense of calm and reap the benefits nature can bring to us.”

Other positives of being outdoors are being able to enjoy ‘me time’ to gather thoughts and reflect (29%) and connecting or reconnecting with friends & family (20%).

Results show we’ll continue to nurture our wellbeing in the coming year via wholesome and outdoorsy getaways. Almost three quarters (72%) of Brits are looking to holiday in the UK between now and the end of 2022 – with over a fifth of us planning not only one, but three or more staycations in that time.

As for where we’ll be headed; the coast (46%), rural destinations (32%), small towns and villages (30%) and national parks (28%) top Brits’ staycation location favourites.

With so much beauty on our doorstep and the opportunity that the pandemic has provided to help us discover it, nature in Britain has clearly become a compelling and year-round attraction.

-Ends-

Notes to editors:
Survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Yonder.com, 8th-10th November 2021.

For further press information, please contact:
Julie Aguilera | Elsa Findlay | Rosie Crass
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0) 20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]

About Yonder
Yonder is a global platform that brings travel, nature, and wellbeing together to provide fulfilling escapes and experiences.

Yonder believes that reconnecting people with nature will help heal the planet and humankind – and the stays and activities it offers support this connection.

Yonder Stewards range from owners of rural properties to those who are actively regenerating local ecosystems and communities.

Established in Montana in 2018 by Tim Southwell and expanding across Europe, Yonder is a member of 1% for the Planet and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and a Public Benefit Corporation in the US. Yonder is also in the process of achieving Certified B Corporation Status. The company has secured $4 million in funding from US-based investors.

For more information, visit: www.yonder.com