Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
13 May 2021 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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This year’s theme is “Connect with Nature”
This Mental Health Awareness Week, 10-16 May, nature is both celebrated and valued as a real tool to improve mental health.
The relaxing sounds of nature are pure, clear and calming – just what we all need after the year we have had! Nature is everywhere, all around us, just waiting to be explored.
How can you connect with nature in this busy hectic world?
- Where you can – bring the outside in. e.g., open doors and windows, bring patio and garden plants inside, make your patio another outdoor room to enjoy in warmer weather.
- Open windows, pull back curtains or lose them altogether, and allow light and air in.
- Your garden (If you have one) – fill it with wildflowers and plants that attract wildlife into the garden. Then sit back and watch the birds, insects and flying little things come and dance on the flowers.
- TV Nature documentaries – we often forget to learn about animals and nature. Even if you do not have access to a plot, allotment or garden you can enjoy learning about it on TV, reading books or listening to recordings of naturistic sounds.
- Go to the beach – with summer just here, we are sure to get a few days of sunshine to go sandcastle-making or simply lie on the beach and reflect/relax.
- Visit local garden centres- a hive of nature activity.
- If your urban-living – Try looking out for the urban fox, or squirrels in parks.
- Insect houses and hotels are all the rage! Make your own with a simple wooden box.
- Save the Bees – this can be as easy as planting flowers to attract them to your back garden.
- Walks – walking is an accessible, easy and free form of exercise and has many mental health benefits.
- Countryside drives/cycles – a day in the countryside helps us all recharge our batteries. Taking in the scenery is a genuine way to relax and appreciate all Mother Nature has to offer. Why not take a picnic and dine outdoors?
- Gardening – What better way to connect than planting, weeding, working with the soil and earth. Keeping a vegetable patch or herb garden does not require talented green fingers but can have many benefits. You will be eating organic produce while taking in all that nature has to offer when doing the work.
The important thing with nature is that you listen to the sounds, are mindful of the moment and what’s happening; really hear the birds, listen to the sea waves, embrace the calm of the rustling trees or flowing water in the streams. Connecting with nature is well documented to improve your mood and relieve stress and don’t we all need that after 2020?
Mind your mental health and as summer approaches, take time out to connect with nature.