This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week celebrated nature and how it can help us be mindful, feel calmer and nourish our sense of wellbeing.
Nature can be a great tonic for stress and negative emotions. Walking through a park filled with trees and flowers or enjoying the view of swans on a river can boost our mood. Getting out into nature is good for us. But what happens when we can’t get out?
If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or low moods, you probably found that some days it can feel hard to leave home. Taking a walk to the park can seem out of reach, especially as our mood can also affect energy levels. Some people can also struggle with mobility or have health issues which make it hard to go out.
Small steps can help, so how about starting with what you enjoy about nature? Write down, doodle or just think about what nature does for you. It could be the sound of wind in the trees helping you feel calmer or the smell of flowers making you smile.
Once you’ve got a few ideas, think about how you can experience them from your own home. You could ask someone to bring you a plant or some flowers. You could open your window, especially if there’s a breeze to stir the branches of nearby trees. Try birdwatching from your window or find wildlife accounts to follow on social media. There are nature programmes on TV or birdsong you can listen to online.
You could try hobbies that involve nature that you can do indoors. How about crafting or knitting an item which represents the daily weather and temperature. If you search for ‘knitting the weather onto a scarf’ online, you can find great ideas on Twitter! You could photograph, draw or paint the view from your window each week and compare the weather, the sky, the trees and flowers as the seasons change. Yorkshire artist David Hockney created images of local scenes in different weather on his iPad, including the view from his window.
Whether it’s watching birds from your front door or nurturing plants on your window ledge, you can appreciate nature from home. It might even encourage you to visit the park or go to the library for a book about wild flowers. Maybe you’ll explore our Connect with Nature page and find a local gardening or walking group or find other ideas to engage with nature to support your wellbeing.
Take small steps and enjoy your journey!