City life

Jessica writes about how nature helps her cope with the stresses of city life.

I love city life. The constant buzz of activity, the diversity of people and experiences, and the fact you’re never short of something to do. I find it exhilarating. 


But I also find living and working in a big city can be draining sometimes, too. A stressful day at work can be compounded by a stressful commute – crammed on an overcrowded train, people rushing past – it doesn’t always allow you the time to relax or recharge. There have been times in my life where I’ve felt hugely overwhelmed and stressed, and haven’t been sure how to escape the bustle.


That’s where I’ve found nature – even in small amounts – has helped. For me it’s an escape from my thoughts and my stresses; it’s almost meditative. 


If I’ve had a rough day, on my commute I try to count the trees that I pass. I try to notice the changes each day or each week – leaves falling, the sounds of different birds, seasons changing as I look out the train window. In the winter I look at stars or the changing moon and realise just how small we all are. The more I notice, the more I slowly forget about work or the people around me and feel part of something bigger.

I find it incredibly reassuring to know that no matter what’s happened in my day, nature’s still there, just doing its thing, beyond our control. Even in the city we’re surrounded by it. It puts things into much better perspective and helps me feel connected to the wider world – to forget my own trivial worries.


I love city life but for me nature is a crucial part of thriving amid the bustle. 


By Jessica Birtles 

Thriving With Nature

WWF and the Mental Health Foundation have come together to produce a guide for you. We want you to thrive and for nature to thrive around you. We think the two are mutually supportive.

Read the guide