You might have seen across social media that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s an annual event, and the theme for 2021 is nature.
Nature is so important for your mental health and overall wellbeing. In fact, one of our core elements within our 8Wise™️ is Environmental Wellness and one of the main ways to strengthen it is to spend more time outdoors. As human beings, we are meant to live our lives in nature – it’s only in recent generations that technology has advanced, cities have expanded and our lives have been spend indoors at desks more and more.
Nature has been found to boost our mood, reduce stress and feelings of anger, help us relax, improve physical health, and even improve confidence and self-esteem. In addition to this, a study in the US in the 1980s (Ulrich, 1984) found that patients who were treated in hospitals with a view of nature recovered faster – so it obviously has some amazing health benefits!
You can get the benefits of nature from all sorts of things – your local park, a forest, rivers, canals, beaches, your garden, indoor plants, and window boxes. Even nature documentaries have shown to be good for your mental health!
So how can you connect with nature this week? It is all around us so really try to take notice of it. Visit your local park or appreciate the birds singing outside of your window. If you can head out to a green space, why not take a book and relax there? Or simply sit on a bench or on the grass and take note of the natural sounds around you.
If you’re able to, exercising outdoors is a great way to improve your mental health and boost your mood. If you have a garden, why not do a spot of gardening? Pot some plants or create some pretty flower beds.
Another way to connect with nature is to bring the outside in! House plants, flowers, herbs are all great ways to do this. You can even get a bird feeder to put in your garden or hang off your balcony.
If you’re feeling unwell and can’t leave the house, watching wildlife documentaries is also a great and easy way to connect to nature.
Whatever your week holds, make sure you spend some time connecting with nature to protect your mental health and improve your wellness.