The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is nature.
We’re only just beginning to understand just how vital access to nature is for our mental wellbeing. We probably all knew instinctively that getting from fresh air, enjoying plants and animals etc. was a great way to clear our head or ‘blow away the cobwebs’. Research now show it really does have a positive impact on our mood and mental wellbeing.
During the Covid-19 crisis the power and benefits of nature has been more evident than ever. Research on the mental health impact of the pandemic showed going for outside walks outside was one of the top coping strategies. Around 45% of people reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.
Spending time in the great outdoors or bringing nature into our everyday life can benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing plants or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects.
Help you relax
improve your mood
reduce feelings of stress or anger
help you feel more grounded
improve your confidence and self-esteem
improve your physical health
help you be more active
Sharing this time out and about with others can also help to make new connections.
Even just thinking about connecting with the natural world helps our mental wellbeing. Nature is often used in hypnotherapy to help create a state of deep relaxation. Often you may be asked to visualise yourself in a meadow, or a beach, in a garden or walking through the woods. When you think of a ‘happy place’, many people instinctively think of somewhere in nature. Not many think of a shopping centre or a car park (though absolutely fine if you do!)
This Mental Health Awareness Week, the campaign invites you to #ConnectWithNature and share what this means for you.
Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life.
Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share with others during the week, to inspire others. Join the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
Talk about nature: use the tips, resource packs, research and policy guides the campaign has provided to discuss with your family, school, workplace and community.
I will be sharing useful resources, hints and tip and general links on my social media channels, so follow along: