CONNECTING WITH NATURE
After a long 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions, and at a time when many of you have been working long hours, often alone and under considerable pressure, the theme of ‘Connecting with Nature’ for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 seems very appropriate.
More than 4 in 5 people in the UK are worried about the effect that Covid-19 is having on their lives, with more than half (53.1%) saying it has affected their wellbeing. We are all now able to travel further from home and meet up outside with small groups of friends or family, so let’s make plans to have a little bit of nature in our lives every day.
For many of us this may not be as easy as it sounds, but remember, you don’t have to climb a mountain to feel the benefits. There are many simple ways to do this, even if you live in a town or city:
- Remember, nature is around us everywhere – your garden, the park, the beach or even a field on the outskirts of town. Look for the unexpected, listen to the birdsongs, look up at the clouds and try to notice the beauty around you.
- Reflect on your surroundings – this can really boost your mental health. Listen to the sounds of nature, they are all around, whether you are sitting in your garden, walking, or cycling. Look out for a butterfly or a bumble bee, all these small things can help you find your inner calm and sense of happiness.
- If you can then try and visit natural spaces – green spaces like forests or fields or blue spaces like rivers, waterfalls, or beaches. Some will find travelling further from home a little daunting and this is natural, after all many of us have been staying local for a long time now and this is a big change, but all these places can help lift your mood and feel better about things. If you feel worried about going out on your own, then perhaps arrange to go with a friend or relative.
- Often it is difficult to access natural places, you may have a busy lifestyle, your health may be poor or where you live makes it inaccessible, but this does not mean you can’t benefit from nature. You can do simple things like having plants in the house – something natural to see, smell and touch. Even if you have a balcony, no matter how small you can grow flowers or even your own vegetables, hang a bird feeder where you can watch them and take in the sights and sounds around.
- If you are able to, try to exercise outside – whether it’s a short walk, a run or even a cycle. This can help alleviate feelings of tiredness, anger, and sadness and remember to leave the headphones at home and listen to the sounds around.
- Nature is amazing and the more you look, the more you see. Why not take your own photos and have them framed, or even join a conservation or clean up group?
HELP IS AVAILABLE:
NFSP 24/7, 365 WELLBEING SUPPORT
OR CALL 0800 028 0199 and quote HA174638
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Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems
Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen
OR CALL 116123
24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR
MENTAL HEALTH HELP – ENGLAND
Get help from a mental health charity helpline - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
MENTAL HEALTH HELP - SCOTLAND
Get help with mental health - Mygov
MENTAL HEALTH HELP – WALES
How can I look after my mental health and wellbeing? | GOV.WALES
MENTAL HEALTH HELP – NORTHERN IRELAND
Mental health support | nidirect