Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme for 2021 is … nature!
Nature’s Positive Boost To Mental Health
As you scroll through the site – mentalhealth.org.uk – you’ll find blogs on ‘top tips for connecting with nature’ and a great initiative to ‘Take Action, Get Active’ where you can get active and explore nature, whilst raising vital funds for the Mental Health Foundation.
There’s no surprise that ‘nature’ is this year’s theme.
Over lockdown, outdoor adventure has become a new favourite pastime for so many of us.
As every other standard hobby or activity not considered an ‘essential service’ closed, our house doors opened to welcome sunny Summer walks, turned muddy Autumn marches, turned wet Winter hikes wrestling icy winds and now it’s the turn of Springtime showery shlepping through still-muddy marshes. (Reading that aloud was a proper tongue-twister! Sorry!)
Well, thankfully, today the rainclouds ceased.
So I took a wondrous walk out along the canalside in Loughborough.
Scenic. Restorative. Relieving.
Who knew the simple act of walking several thousand steps closeted by nature’s rainbow of serene blues, greens and greys could be so mentally uplifting?
Scientific studies show the importance of nature walks for your mental and emotional wellbeing; the benefits of this can even be felt from simply sitting outside in the garden or a park for a couple of minutes.
Nature is my happy place.
And because you’re probably already quite familiar with the nature you can find outside your home – parks, gardens and forests nearby – I want to share a few tips to help you to find happiness in nature, from the comfort of your own home…
Floral wallpaper prints
Scrolling through social media today, I spotted not one, but two different accounts drawing attention to ‘floral prints’. I am now an absolute fan (I currently have four or five tabs open on the hunt for a variety of floral wallpapers for my new home…that I’ve still not completed purchase on…but that’s another story. *sigh*.)
Anyway, whether you order some floral print nature samples and frame one or two for your wall(s) or create a feature wall as part of a home DIY project, I think bringing a bit of ‘nature’ indoors this week in a rather unconventional way could be the mental boost you and anybody who visits you (when lockdown rules ease) need!
The beauty of potted plants? Especially when you are struggling with your mental health. They help you realise that, even if you feel alone and unseen, you are needed: that something needs you to be alive to keep it alive. A potted plant – or a garden, if you have one, filled with trees and flowers – literally grounds you. Figuratively and emotionally. Have I watered my plants this week? How are the leaves doing? Oh, a little yellow? Let me ask Google about that. For some plant parents, the act of nurturing this little piece of nature can somehow tether them to each day – or at least a moment in the day – simply in the small act of filling a cup or jug with water and pouring it into the soil and over the leaves.
We nurture nature to nurture our souls.
And we can simply notice nature to nurture our souls, too. (I’ll dive deeper into ‘noticing’ later this month in ‘Promoting Good Mental Health: Mindfulness’.)
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”Psalms 19:1-4 NIVUK
Noticing nature nurtures our souls.
You know that feeling of awe and wonder you get when the sun sets (or rises, but I’m rarely up early enough to catch that)?
Well, stargazing can produce this same sentiment of wonder and amazement, particuarly on a clear, cloudless night.
Why not step outside tonight and look up.
Try stargazing and look out for this particular star tonight.
As part of my global coaching programs – both the holistic wellness model, CORE and the peak performance model, AMPLIFY, highlight the importance of not just nature, but also the connecting themes of movement, meditation and mindfulness to promote better health and greater success in work and life.
Over the course of this week (10-17th May, 2021) and month, I’ll seek to breakdown these three ‘M’s as part of a short Mental Health series.
And at the end of this month, I truly hope and pray that the 2021 Mental Health Awareness week’s theme of ‘nature’ and the three ‘M’s of AMPLIFY will inspire and equip you to live a healthier, happier, higher-performing life not just today or this month, but every day and every month!
P.s. This blog is not meant to be a panacea. I have qualifications in NLP and CBT, but I am not a mental health professional. I appreciate that some mental health illnesses require so much more than the aforementioned strategies to overcome.