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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is the UK Mental Health Awareness Week from 10 May – 16 May. This year’s theme is nature and the environment. In a previous blog on this site we have discussed the benefits of nature to our mental health. You can read it here. The Therapeutic Benefits of Nature

Some recent research by the National Trust has uncovered

“a powerful link between nature and both happiness and feeling life is worthwhile. In addition to having control over their life, we found that ‘nature connectedness’ and ‘noticing nature’ had a significant impact on people’s wellbeing.” 

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week many organisations have put together resources to help people who may be struggling with their mental health. Below are a few websites you can visit.

Mental Health Foundation

  • Top Tips for connecting with Nature
  • Blogs and Research

Mental Health Uk

  • 5 Ways to Wellbeing while reconnecting with Nature

Place2Be Children’s Mental Health Week

  • Online resources
  • Virtual Assembly

My Top 7 Tips for engaging in Mental Health Awareness Week

I have put together 7 things you could do over mental health awareness week to engage with nature. One for each day, hopefully whatever your situation, wherever you live, you will be able to do some of these.

  1. Go for a walk – simple and easy, take a walk in a park, wood, along a canal or around your neighbourhood and as you go pay particular attention to the nature you see. This could be the flowers that are growing up through the cracks in the pavement, it could be the birds singing, or flowers in someone’s front garden.
  2. Plant something – a bulb, some cress, tomatoes, sunflowers. Whether you have a big garden, a small patio, a window box or a window sill, plant something and watch it grow, tend to it and nurture it.
  3. Protect Nature – the National Trust has a scheme whereby you can donate an amount of money and they will plant a tree for you. The smallest amount to donate is £5, you get a certificate confirming your donation. It could be for yourself or a gift for someone else.
  4. Meet up with someone in nature – Nature can be something that you engage in on your own or with others. Meet up with a friend somewhere local and talk. Notice how this activity impacts on your wellbeing. If it has a positive impact maybe think about making it a regular activity.
  5. Look for nature online – For some leaving the house is difficult. If you can’t go out to nature bring it to you through the magic of the internet. Our previous blog will give you some ideas.
  6. Meditate on a nature – This is an activity you can do outside or inside. Take time to sit and absorb nature with all of your senses, what can you see, hear, touch, smell and taste. If you are outside in a forest, maybe what you taste is how fresh the air is. If you do this activity inside you could be using a plant or flower as your meditative object, or fruits of nature, such as strawberries, rasperries or apples. Can you really pay attention as you eat a piece of fruit.
  7. Talk to the animals – Nature is not just about plants. If you have a pet you probably aready know about their benefits to your mental health. If you don’t maybe get a bird feeder for the garden, feed the ducks at your local pond. Watch the squirrels as you walk in the forrest, volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs, or see if a neighbour needs help walking their dog. Pay attention to the insects that you come across, the bees and the beetles, notice their activity.

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean—

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

Of Course you may still find that you want to talk to a professional about how you are feeling. If you think that Birmingham Counselling and Psychotherapy could help you please don’t hesitate to contact me. Please Call me on 07843 813537. Please leave a message if I can’t answer your call and I’ll call you back as soon as possible. If you have any other questions or enquiries please call or send me a message by completing the online enquiry form. Due to COVID I am currently working exclusively online or on the telephone.

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