News: #MentalHealthAwareness Week 2021: More personal insights on the wellbeing benefits of nature 🌳
Read about how getting out and about in nature has benefited the wellbeing of members of the Augere Team and some lessons to take forward as the restrictions start to ease.
Read about how getting out and about in nature has benefited the wellbeing of members of the Augere Team and some lessons to take forward as the restrictions start to ease…
This year’s mental health awareness day comes at just the right time to reflect on the significant challenges the last 18 months of covid-related restrictions have created for many. Luckily, for the UK at least, focus is shifting to the promise of release, refresh and renewal that moving on from this shared chapter in our lives will bring.
My hands-down favourite phrase to emerge around the pandemic is borrowed with pride from my friend, adventurer and mental health ambassador, Alex Staniforth. He talked even before the lockdowns began, about the outdoors being our ‘Natural Health Service’ (NHS). I love the idea and feeling that this phrase brings with it – a freely available, healing opportunity that we can all chose to tap in to, whenever we want or need to, regardless of where we live.
I know that being outdoors has been a stress and anxiety reliever and lifeline for many, over many years – and so as we venture into this next phase, I’m eager to encourage us all to remember to retain our newly acquired good habits, and keep building new habits that connect us with nature. It helps. Remember to watch that sunrise or sunset.
Listen to the dawn chorus every now and again. Multi-task that team call outside, so that you can feel the fresh air, watch the clouds scurry by and benefit from the change of scenery. We are all better for it – whether we are specifically trying to focus on improving our mental health, or just enjoying the healthy by-products of being outdoors.
Hurray! for our Natural Health Service – let’s continue to make the most of what it offers to us!
Here’s a reminder from our Augere and Elevate Launch Event featuring Alex Staniforth, sharing top tips on #mentalhealth #resilience and #nature.
We are lucky to live in a country with an abundance of family-friendly nature spots — much of which is within proximity, even if we live in a major city. Trips to the park & the beach are commonplace for me, with having a young son and a dog to entertain!
The National lockdowns & the widespread adoption of home-based working has offered us the opportunity to spend even more quality time together as a family — which we have used to spend more time outdoors.
I have particularly enjoyed moments like this with my 18-month-year-old son (pictured below — exuberantly playing in muddy puddles, one of his favourite pastimes and one that is easy to fulfil with a UK climate!). There is something about these moments that brings about a healthy perspective on life.
For many, this shift to home-based working means the time taken to commute has reduced by hours. Now your commute may be however long it takes for you to get from your bedroom to your computer! Though this has brought about challenges with prioritisation & the danger of ‘over-working. Now it has become all too easy for us to lose track of time — as we have been working socially distant, behind a computer screen with no clear start and finish times as we can start work as soon as we wake.
Therefore we must be critical with our time, maybe more than ever, to look after our well-being.
I enjoy the sights, sounds & smells that nature has to offer — possibly as much as my sensory loving son! Utilising this time saved from commuting to be outdoors has been a real natural remedy for my day-to-day troubles & worries. It has allowed me to keep focused on the important things in life, like these special moments I have shared with my son.
This pandemic has been a disaster for some, yet it has gifted us with some great opportunities — it has allowed us to reconnect with nature and spend more time doing the things that we enjoy most. But ultimately, it has gifted us the opportunity to revisit our ways of working and cultivate new best practices that promote high productivity and healthy mental well-being.
It feels like one of the most important weeks of the year right now! As this week is #MentalHealthAwareness Week with #Nature being the theme – I’m reflecting on how the pandemic has changed my relationship with nature. Spending time in nature has always been important to me, but now it’s become an essential part of my daily life coping with the stress of the pandemic.
The uncertainty of the last year has really had a huge impact on me: being locked down for the first time ever and not able to do what I want to do. It’s been massively challenging and sometimes a bit scary to say the least.
Since working from home, I have spent more time being sedentary, sitting at the desk for longer periods and struggling to switch off from work with the added pressure of my kitchen being my office. With no clear separation, I have often found myself working 12-hour days.
The pandemic has encouraged me to focus on discovering new local green spaces that I was not aware of before the lockdowns. It is surprising what little wonders of nature are just on my doorstep. It has been a massive positive for me.
In the midst of feeling stressed, being able to take a walk for an hour after work, appreciating the blossom, bird songs, the plants in my garden or running up Moel Artur to catch the #sundaysunsets, are all things that have re-energised my mood. It allows me to embrace the natural surroundings, remove myself from the distractions of modern life and make new connections through sound and smell.
Whilst in nature, I immerse myself: taking some gentle deep breaths (apart from running up chasing sunsets), trying to give full attention to what I can see, hear, smell, and feel. All of these positively contributing to a wholesome sensory awareness. I have taken on board the guidance of my mentor and colleague Lisa: ‘When we spend time outdoors, we are more mindful of what we see, what we hear, what we smell, and what we feel”.
The good news is, I haven’t had to climb too many mountains to feel the benefits. There are lots of simple ways that nature has brought some joy into my daily routine over the last year… I could go on…!
In some ways, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for making some positive changes, which now serves as a great reminder to make time to take a step back and focus on our wellbeing and to check in on those around us too. Let’s carry on helping each other to keep mentally healthy.