Mental Health Awareness Week: 1 Guaranteed Way to Boost Your Mental health
This week (10 – 17th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week. MHA Week was founded to help people to understand, protect and sustain their mental health by promoting good mental health for all. Here at Love Leggings, we know it’s been a tough year and we just want to check in with you.
While things are looking up, there’s still a lot that we can’t do right now that could help with our mental health (like hugging… we miss hugging!) but there’s still one vital resource we can use to boost our mental health… can you guess?!
Nature is essential to our psychological, physical and emotional health. From green spaces like parks and woodland to blue spaces like rivers and beaches, nature encompasses a whole variety of locations. But there are still lots we take advantage of trees in the city street, private gardens, houseplants and window boxes.
Luckily, throughout the pandemic, we’ve still been able to get outside in fact, 45% of people in the UK said that visiting green spaces, such as parks, helped them to cope. But it’s not just the amount of time we spend out of doors that matters, it’s also about the quality.
New research shows that the quality of our relationship with nature is part of the reason for its positive impact on our Mental Health. A strong connection with nature means feeling a close relationship or attachment to our natural surroundings making strengthening our connectedness to nature a sure-fire way to boost our mental health.
5 ways to strengthen your connection with nature this Mental Health Awareness week:
1 – Find Nature Near You
Whether you live in the middle of the countryside or the city, nature is all around you. You just have to know where to look. From your own back garden to open parks and beaches, nature will always find a way to co-exist with us. If you’re not lucky enough to be able to step out of your front door and into nature, it’s worth searching for community gardens, courtyards and allotments near where you live.
2 - Use All Your Sense
To boost your connectedness, you need to disconnect from everything else. Take some quiet time – away from your phone - and use all your sense to embrace nature. Listen to the birds' chirp, the trees rustle or the waves crash against the shore. Smell the flowers (did you know the 5th most popular smell in the world is the smell of freshly cut grass?!), look for bees and butterflies or sunbathe and watch the clouds go by. Feel the breeze or the grass beneath your feet.
3 – Bring Nature to You
If you can’t get out to nature, why not bring nature to you! To help boost your connectedness to nature, why not raise a plant? Did you know that being around houseplants can improve your memory and attention span by 20%, they’re known to reduce stress and boost your mood. If you can’t plant any in your garden, try houseplants, sill box or allotment.
4 – Combine Your Hobbies With Nature
Do you love to paint or draw? Try painting what you see in your garden or find an area of outstanding beauty. Trying photography? Go explore until you find that picture-perfect spot! Now that the weather’s warming up, you can read, play music outside too. (Thank goodness for Spring!)
5 – Exercise In Nature
We all need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, if walking, running or cycling is your thing – get outside! Love HITT, yoga or dance? Grab your gear and go! There’s not a lot of exercise or sport that you can’t play outside. And leave the earphones at home so you can practise #2 and listen to all the sounds of nature you miss usually…
If you're struggling to cope, you are not alone. The best thing you can do is to talk to someone. If not a friend or loved one, you can get help here:
The Samaritans (open 24 hours a day): Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shout Crisis Text Line: Text Shout to 85258Mind: Call 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably) or email email@example.com