5 Ways to Improve your Mental Wellbeing and Connect with Nature
Connecting with Nature for your Wellbeing
This year, the theme for mental health awareness week is ‘connecting with nature’. During the last difficult year, many of us experienced the joys of nature as we re-discovered our local areas during the pandemic.
Numerous research studies have shown that experiencing nature has a positive effect on our mental wellbeing, reducing our stress and increasing positive emotions. Nature is everywhere – from a dandelion sprouting through a crack in the pavement to the birds flying past the window, we don’t need to live next door to a nature reserve to be able to harness the benefits of nature for our wellbeing.
We would love to share with you some ideas for ways you can improve your mental wellbeing and connect with nature at the same time, using the 5 Ways to Wellbeing: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Learn and Give. Don’t forget – you don’t have to go outside to reap the benefits of nature!
Connect with other people
Connect with other people through nature by either meeting outdoors or sharing things like wildlife documentaries and images with friends or loved ones.
- Take your family for a picnic in your local green space
- Go for a walk with a friend and see how many types of animals, flowers or trees you can spot
- Phone a long-distance friend or family member and tell each other what wildlife you can see from your window
- Take a picture of something beautiful you find in nature and send it to a loved one
Be Active in nature
- Stretch, walk, run, swim. Do your thing!…be active outdoors, or if you can’t get out, open the windows or surround yourself with plants.
- Go for a run or bike ride with a friend in your local green spaces.
- Walk around your neighbourhood and see if you can find any wildlife you haven’t seen before
- Try an outdoor exercise class in a park or green space
Take notice of the natural world
- Sit outside and listen to the sounds of birds or insects
- Pay attention to the number of colours you can see in your garden or local park
- Sow a seed and watch it sprout and grow each day
- Notice the different textures of a leaf, a pebble, the bark of a tree
- Take a moment to breathe in the scent of a flower or herbs in the garden
- Eat a fresh fruit or vegetable mindfully- focus on the flavour and texture
Learn new skills or knowledge
- Find out how to identify what types of trees are in your area
- Learn the name of a wildflower every day this week
- Practise a skill like pressing flowers, or gardening
- Watch a documentary or listen to a podcast about the natural world
- Learn how to create a wildlife habitat
Give to others
- Volunteer for a nature conservation project
- Grow fruit or vegetables to share with friends and neighbours
- See how many pieces of rubbish you can litter-pick in your local area
- Put out a birdfeeder and watch the birds gathering to eat
- Leave a corner of your garden to go wild and let nature take over
5 Ways to Wellbeing
Find out more about the 5 ways to wellbeing and how they can help you to look after your mental wellbeing.
Connect with nature for your mental health
We hope you enjoy trying these activities this week and throughout the year.
Let us know how you get on by tagging us @melo_cymru and using the hashtags #MeloMHA #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
Follow us on social media throughout the week to learn more about how a connection with nature can boost your mental wellbeing!
– John Muir
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