Do you like the outdoors?
It might be a strange question to ask when, for many, it’s felt like we’ve been locked inside for a year. But there’s a difference in getting out to do your weekly shop, and (to pinch Micky Flanagan’s phrase) getting out out.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is Nature. As we navigate our way out into the wider world again, we are being encouraged to find our way back to the beauty of trees, birds and butterflies. Like the concepts of Hygge – the Danish Path to Happiness – and Shinrin Yoku, the Japanese Tradition of Tree Bathing – cultures around the globe have known the benefits of a good walk in amongst the hills and greenery. When you’re feeling down, nature can uplift and help you rise again.
But what if you live in an urban area or you’re not the “green-fingered” type? The good news is you don’t even need a pair of wellies.
Here’s something you could try:
This week, maybe set the intention to Rise in Nature. This article from Mind explains the benefits of ecotherapy – being out in the wild and spending time amongst plants, birds or animals. But if that’s not your thing, you could just take a camera or your Smartphone to take snaps of the natural landscape you see and share with friends and family.
If you live in a town, you might find a bench in a park to just sit and be or listen to the birds at your window. Mindfulness can help you connect with your senses and nature all around you, by noting what you can see, smell, touch and hear. Or you could bring nature to you, by treating yourself to a house plant, or think about investing in an allotment nearby. If you enjoy painting or drawing, you could create a piece of nature through art.
Whichever way you decide to engage with nature, think of it as a way to slow down. Nature doesn’t hurry, but it still gets everything done.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis