Nature and Your Mental Well-being
Nature is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year, 10-16 May 2021, so we’ve compiled a list of ways that you can use nature to help nurture your mental health and well-being.
According to research in the ecotherapy field, there is a strong correlation between nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression – so let’s see look at some different ways in which we can connect with nature.
Try to spend at least 10-15 minutes outside each day, more would be great, but 10-15 minutes is a perfect start. An instant benefit of being outside is that sunshine can help boost your serotonin production and thus stabilise your mood, feelings of well-being and happiness.
Spending time outside can be as simple as walking to a local shop/cafe, drinking your morning coffee in the garden (or on the balcony), or a taking short walk around the block.
Now we’re outside, let’s take this further and try to connect with nature…
Seek out a Green Space
You don’t have to live in the countryside to reap the benefits of green spaces, our cities are packed with parks, gardens and canals for you to enjoy. Once you’re there, take the time to appreciate and notice the nature surrounding you – the more you look and listen, the more you’ll notice and the more connections you’ll develop with nature. Even small interactions and connections with nature can reduce the feeling of social isolation.
Connecting with nature isn’t just about walking in green spaces and spotting wildlife, it can be an opportunity for creativity. Use the inspiration of nature for your next project; be that photography, painting, drawing or writing.
Bring Nature Home
Make your connection with nature last and bring it into your home:
- Watch a nature documentary.
- Read a book about nature.
- If you got creative with nature, why not display your painting or change your screensaver to a snap of nature
- Buy a plant (for either inside or outside) and nurture it to grow over the coming months and years – there’s always space for a small herb plant if you can’t fit a larger plant at home.
Give Nature a Helping Hand
You can go further, and use your creativity and your home to provide wildlife with food and shelter. You can:
- Fill a large plant pot with bee-friendly plants, such as lavender, rosemary and thyme.
- Grow a mini-wildflower meadow or create a log pile to provide shelter for insects or even small mammals, if you have a garden.
- Set up a bird-feeding station.
- Build a home-made bird house or bug hotel.
Not only will you help nature to thrive, you’ll also boost your chances of seeing wildlife at close quarters.
Why not take some snaps or videos of the connections you’ve made with nature and share them with your (human) connections. Or better yet, invite a friend to enjoy nature with you (following social distancing guidelines) and spread the positivity and mindfulness connecting with nature brings.
Hopefully, you’ve found a couple of ways to connect with nature this week and take the opportunity to engage all your senses in the splendour it has to offer.
Also, check our Tips to Nurture your Mental Health and Well-being article.