Connect with Nature to Support Mental Health
Capel Manor College are encouraging people to connect with nature to support their mental health as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 to 16 May.
The week, which is coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation, focuses on nature and the environment, and is inspired by the support many people have found in nature throughout the pandemic.
Each year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, and almost half have reported high levels of anxiety because of the pandemic.
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. In addition to helping with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, being in nature can:
- Improve your mood
- Reduce feelings of stress or anger
- Help you take time out and feel relaxed
- Improve your confidence and self-esteem
- Help you be more active
- Help you make new connections
Connect with Nature in New Ways
Bring nature inside
Now is the perfect time to head down to your local garden centre and buy some potted flowers or plants for your home. Take photos of your favourite places in nature and hang them in your home – or set them as wallpapers on your phone or computer. Don’t forget that you can listen to the sound of nature within your home, too. Try searching for sounds of birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall to listen to when you go to sleep.
Do some outdoor activities
Get some daily exercise into your routine by walking, jogging or practicing some yoga in the garden or a local park. Meet up with friends or family and have a picnic, or if you like drawing, painting or writing, try doing this outdoors instead of at home.
Help the environment
Go on a litter picking walk, volunteer for a conservation project, plant helpful seeds or build an animal habitat, for example, a hedgehog house or a pond (if you have enough space).
Connect with animals
Watch out for wildlife, particularly squirrels, fish, insects, ducks and other birds. Or visit a local community or city farm. You could even hang a bird feeder outside a window and if you have additional space, why not build a small wooden nesting box on a tree or a windowsill?
Here are three ways you can get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week this week:
Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life, for example, listen carefully to birdsong or rainfall, watch the movement of the clouds and trees whilst out on a walk, or explore the beautiful textures, colours and scents of nearby plants and flowers.
Alternatively, sit and relax in nature with a good book or a cup of tea, or take a stroll through an open countryside, local park or community garden.
You can do all of these activities on your own or with a family member or friend – and you will instantly see how sparing just 20 to 30 minutes a day to connect with nature can have a positive effect on your mood.
Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you have made during the week to inspire other people to do the same. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
Use our tips to discuss mental health with your own family, friends or colleagues, and encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.
If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with their mental health, take a look at some of these useful resources:
Mental Health Foundation