Sometimes taking action to improve your mental health can seem like a daunting task, especially in the current climate. As we transition out of lockdown, feelings of isolation, uncertainty, and fear about the future are perfectly normal. And these feelings may be heightened if you are trying to tackle this all on your own.
The good news is there are lots of simple things you can do for yourself, by yourself and in a safe way. Over the next few blogs, we’ll be sharing some practical and easy things you can do to give your mental health a boost.
Today we’re taking a look at ‘Green Therapy’ (a fancy name for taking a walk in nature!)
Why do it?
Taking a walk has been around since the time we first learnt to walk – so what’s so special about it?
Growing research suggests that for those suffering from mental health issues, particularly mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, the natural world can offer some effective treatments. Engaging in outdoor activities is widely known to improve our physical wellbeing, which, in turn, can lead to an improvement in our mental state. In one study, 80% of participants reported an increase in their mental wellbeing simply by going outdoors and experiencing nature.
Here are just a few reasons to tie up your shoes and head out for a walk:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Aid relaxation
- Boost self-confidence
- Improve symptoms of SAD
- Improve resilience
Okay, so taking a walk-in nature seems straight forwards and it is. That’s why it’s so great! But here are our top tips to get the most of your walk.
- Make it easy
Choose somewhere familiar and easy to get to.
- Take Notice
Make sure you take time to stop and be in nature. What do you see, hear, smell, touch? How on earth do those squirrels run straight up trees?
Take some deep breaths and soak it up. Even find a nice log to sit on and enjoy being there.
- Social Distance
The great thing about the great outdoors is there’s lots of it. Follow the government social distancing guidelines and keep a 2-metre distance if you see a fellow walker.
If you do see a fellow walker see it as an opportunity to connect. Give them a smile and say hello. You could cheer up their day and yours too.
No-where to walk? Try out these ideas:
- Take a spin around your garden
- Get comfy by your window and watch out for nature, just listening to the birds can brighten up the day
- Try a virtual tour, lots of tourist attractions are now offering these such as; https://www.chesterzoo.org/virtual-zoo-2
The Chapter Team X
We hope you’re already reaching for your shoes as you read this sentence. But if you are feeling too overwhelmed by what you’re experiencing Chapter is here to help.
We’ve made it easier than ever to get in touch. Simply fill out a self-referral form and tell us about your mental health experience.
To learn more about the support we offer click here.
Growing Resilience through Interaction with Nature: Can Group Walks in Nature Buffer the Effects of Stressful Life Events on Mental Health?https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466337/