Did you know this week is Mental Health Awareness Week? The theme this year is ‘connect with nature‘, a nod to lockdown and how many of us turned to nature itself to help our mental health throughout the pandemic. From a daily walk in the park to some ideas for trips, we’ve come up with 6 fantastic ways to connect with nature.
Explore your local area
There’s no better time than now to have a wander and explore your local area to discover what’s around you. If you have a daily walk at lunch, try taking a different direction and explore some of the outdoor space close to you. It could well end up being your number one picnic spot!
A little research also never hurt anybody – get onto Google and look up your local National Trust site to help support their gardens and parks. Due to lockdown restrictions, most places will require you to pre-book a visit at the moment, so don’t forget to plan ahead.
Get creative in your garden
Whether you’ve got green fingers or not, getting creative in your garden is always a joy and something to be proud of. Pop to your local garden centre and pick out some plants or flowers with colours that make you happy, so it makes you want to spend every sunny moment in it. You can also make it a home for others – try some flowers that attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies or even invest in a little nest box for little birds to leave their eggs (aww!). But not all gardens are outdoors!
For those in flats or without gardens, certain types of houseplants can be fantastic for sprucing up the place, purifying polluted air and may also reduce stress levels. And, take it from us, there’s nothing more thrilling than when your Monstera, a.k. cheese plant, unravels a brand-new leaf!
Open your windows
Another great way to connect with nature! Each morning, if weather permits, as you’re making your cup of tea or coffee, just open your window, take a deep breath in and jot down what you can hear and see. Maybe it’s the sound of the trees rustling wonderfully in the wind or little birds chirping contentedly away and musing at what they could be saying to one another. Perhaps you might be lucky enough to hear the waves crashing onto a beach in the morning. But no matter where you’re based and what surrounds you, it’s just an excellent way to pause and indulge the senses in all nature has to offer.
Plan a trip to visit somewhere new
Instead of waiting for international travel to resume, why not plan a trip to somewhere new in the U.K.? Try some part of the country that you’ve not been to yet and explore all it has to offer. If you need a little inspiration on where to visit, check out one of 46 AONBs (Area Of Natural Beauty) in Britain. Even if you’re not planning a trip, it’s actually quite fun to reminisce and see how many AONBs you’ve already been to!
Read a book on nature
There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book, are we right?! It’s also been proven to significantly reduce stress levels by 68% when you read just 6 minutes a day…just 6 minutes! So, whether you like freaky fiction or something perhaps a little more factual, fall in love with other people’s take on nature.
One of Britain’s most remarkable nature writers, Richard Mabey, wrote beautifully ‘Nature Cure‘ that has been described as a love song for the infinite wonders of the British countryside. Do you have a book recommendation on nature, plants or countryside? Pop them below in the comments to share with others!
No matter your preferred exercise, make the most of the sunshine and exercise outdoors amongst nature! Take your weights to the garden or skipping rope to the park, head out for your daily run or get your comfy shoes on for a lunch break walk…the possibilities are endless! Not only will you be feeling great after a spot of exercise, but wind through your hair and sunshine on your face also makes for a productive afternoon! Remember to try running without your headphones in to listen to all the wonderful sounds around you.
If you’re based near West London like us, try something different and surround yourself with rare and endangered plants with a one-hour yoga class at Temperate House in Kew Gardens.
And there you have it! 6 fantastic ways to connect with nature for mental health awareness week. If you have your own unique way that you like to connect with nature, please drop a comment below to share with our other readers!
P.S. Did you see our ‘Take Care of Yourself Like a Human Plant‘ guide on Instagram? We are pleased to let you know from now on, we’ll be including it as a free postcard in every order placed on our website! A brilliant reminder to look to nature for ways to be kind to yourself.