Mental Health Awareness Week: The best ways to connect with nature
It's Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, from 10-16 May 2021.
This week allows us to destigmatise the concerns that many of us face on a daily basis and reflect on what we can do for ourselves and others.
This year's theme is nature, a central component to our psychological and emotional health. Our connection to the natural world has largely been strengthened over the past year, owing to the limitations imposed on society by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Join us and discover our series of simple, but effective ways to enjoy, appreciate and harness the power of nature in a way that can positively impact our mental wellbeing.
Pick a topic below:
Take a Lunchtime Walk
Research by the Mental Health Foundation on the mental health impacts of the pandemic indicated that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies.
What's more, 45% of us reported that being in green spaces was vital for our mental health, and wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people spent more time in nature and noticed it more.
Taking a luchtime walk offers a multitude of benefits, not least providing us with an easy way to undertake light exercise, consume fresh air and present us with a change of scenery from the work desk!
Perhaps the greatest virtue of a daily stroll is how it adds some much-needed structure to our day. With the majority of us spending more time at home than usual, the lines between home and work can become blurred.
As the weather improves, lock in your time to re-energise, reset and be at one with nature.
Stop & Listen
Sounds create a sense of place, connect people to nature, and growing evidence suggests that natural sounds are important for human health and wellbeing.
In a recent study investigating the health benefits of natural sound, participants reported less stress and improved health outcomes after listening to recordings of nature sounds.
Of the three types of natural sounds (birds, water, and mixed) that were tested, bird sounds had the greatest impact on lowering stress.
If you’re without an outside space, meditating with the sounds of nature can be a great way to relax and ground yourself.
Opening a window, or listening to a recording could make a big difference to your overall wellbeing.
Bring Nature Inside
According to ancient Buddhist beliefs, the environment we create is a reflection of our mental state.
It's essential that when we switch off to unwind after a long day, we create a sanctuary for ourselves to do so effectively.
Why not get creative, and let nature do the work? Plants, leaves, flowers, feathers and other natural materials can provide some refreshing colour and life as decorations for your living space.
Certain plant species may also help improve our sleep and stress levels.
Studies indicate that the calming, sweet scent of Jasmine, for example, can be therapeutic for anxious minds.
It can also improve the quality of our sleep, leading to a more restful night's slumber so we can wake up feeling more energetic and refreshed, ready to tackle the day.
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