This week, 10th – 16th May is the Mental Health Foundation’s National Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the theme is centred around nature.
Nature has long been thought of as helpful to our wellbeing, but I would say it’s vital. Just ask yourself what you would have done over the last 15 months if you hadn’t been able to get outside? And for those of you who had to shield, I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you. I truly hope you are getting outside as much as possible now.
So I’ve put together some quick tips on how to bring nature and the great outdoors into your life to improve your wellbeing based on the Mental Health Foundation’s longer article.
1. Seek out nature
Consciously look out for nature even if you find yourself in the urban sprawl. Seek out green spaces whether that’s a small back garden, a landscaped space in shopping centre or a local park. If you’re close to the countryside, take a walk in the open fields or if you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, take a stroll along the beach because being mindful and noticing your natural surroundings will stop your mind racing and keep your thoughts in the now.
2. Connect with nature
When you’re really noticing your surroundings, you engage all of your senses as your awareness increases and when in nature that means you get to see and hear the smallest of things. You see things in greater detail, such as blades of grass swaying in the breeze and hear things that might normally go unheard such as the gentle buzz of a bumble bee – all of these things can bring a deep sense of calm and joy if you just take the time to connect.
3. Bring nature to you
Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to leave our back door and walk straight into nature but that doesn’t stop you from bringing a bit of nature into your home. House plants are scientifically proven to elevate mood and enhance their surroundings plus they exchange carbon-dioxide for oxygen so improve air quality at the same time as having a calming influence so what’s not to like?
Obviously cut flowers are a great way to add colour and bring the outside in, but so is having a windowsill full of fragrant herbs.
If you’re lucky enough to have an outside space, however small, think about how you can make the most of it. Even a small tub or window box full of flowers or a bird feeder can bring you closer to nature.
Connecting to nature through listening to sound recordings, watching TV shows about gardening or the great outdoors or reading can also be a wonderful way to reflect on this amazing planet of ours.
4. Exercise in nature
If you’re physically mobile and able to exercise, then do it outside as often as you can. Not only will you be producing feel good chemicals by moving your body, you’ll be topping up on some much-needed Vitamin D. And of course, taking your dog for a walk is not only beneficial for your four-legged friend!
I really hope you are able to connect with nature in a way that is meaningful for you so you can feel the healing benefits that this amazing planet of ours can bring you.