The global pandemic has allowed us to reconnect with nature in a way that many of us haven’t done since we were children. For some watching and listening to the birds may have been our only contact through the enforced lockdowns, for others we have found solace in green space as we have taken daily walks as our permitted exercise. However we have connected with nature, it’s important that we continue this relationship as it benefits both our mental and physical wellbeing.
Being outdoors can:
- improve your mood
- help reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you relax
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
10- 16th May is Mental Health Awareness week, and this year the campaign aims to ‘inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways.’*
What can you do this week to help improve your mental health? You could:
- Take a walk in green space, maybe around your local park, or try a ‘rambling route’.
- If you usually exercise indoors, move it outside, run through the park or try yoga in your garden.
- Plant some flowers or vegetables.
- Smell a flower or run your hands over the bark of a tree.
- Count how many different bird varieties you see and try to identify their bird song.
- Eat a meal outdoors or have a picnic in a local park
- Watch the clouds and at night try star gazing – my personal favourite.
I’m sure as a kid you remember lying in the grass looking up at the clouds and spotting different shapes and pictures or as night fell, staring skyward, hoping to spot a shooting star. My older sister would patiently spend hours trying to help me ‘see’ the ‘Big Dipper’ or ‘Great Bear’, I never could. Now that you can meet up outdoors, weather permitting, I think I’ll ask my sister to try again. Maybe through older eyes I will be able to ‘see’ and understand what’s she’s drawing for me and if I can’t, lying together in the grass will be just like old times, although now I’ll take us a blanket to lie on. (Source * mentalhealth.org.uk)