‘Being in nature’ might sound like a difficult task but the good news is, you don’t need to climb a mountain to reap the benefits. There are lots of simple ways to bring a little nature into your everyday life which can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, we share our top tips for connecting with nature to improve your mental health and wellbeing:
Reconnecting with nature by going for a walk to a local park, canal or open countryside is a great stress reliever, it allows you to be away from daily distractions such as social media, chaos and noise. You can expose yourself to some glorious fresh air and listen out for birdsong or look for colourful leaves spiraling down from branches above, the movements of fluffy clouds or notice changes in the weather. Connect with nature using all five of your senses to find a sense of calm and joy.
Bring nature to you
We know it can sometimes be hard to access natural places because of where you live or due to having a busy schedule. So why not try bringing nature to you?
Studies show that having plants and flowers inside the home can calm your heart rate and reduce stress, helping us to feel more comfortable and relaxed at home. So brighten up your living spaces with greenery or collect pots of herbs from the supermarket to heighten your senses.
Do you have an allotment, balcony or garden? Jazz it up with a bird feeder, a pond, or vegetable and fruit patches. Even just keeping your windows open for fresh air and natural sunlight can be beneficial.
Nature can also be a great inspiration to get creative! This could be through painting, drawing, crafting, photography, writing – the possibilities are endless. Noticing nature’s beauty and expressing it creatively can help you find a meaningful connection to it.
If you’re looking to boost your energy levels or clear your mind you could try exercising in nature. Going for a run, cycling or even just going for a short walk can help prevent feelings of anger, tiredness and sadness. If you’re planning an outing with a friend or family member, why not organise a picnic in a park, a walk around a forest or head to a beach or river?
Need some more inspiration and other ideas to try?
- Grow food together with others – apply to share an allotment or look for community gardens.
- Go fruit picking at a local farm or orchard.
- Collect natural materials such as leaves, flowers, feathers or tree bark, and use them for scrapbooking or home décor.
- Save glass jars and use them to make mini gardens or a forest enclosed in its own little world, using plants, soil and stones.
- Go on a litter picking walk and help the environment.
- Volunteer for a conservation project.
- Plant helpful seeds such as berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bumblebees.
- Build an animal habitat such as a hedgehog house or create a pond if you have the space.
Our Counselling and Mental Health service provides free & confidential counselling, mental health advice, self-help resources and workshops for students and staff.