Mental Health Awareness
This week we're supporting Mental Health Awareness Week - Nature. The Mental Health Foundation research showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies during the pandemic with 45% of us reporting being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.
With 1 in 8 children and 1 in 4 adults being affected by mental health, awareness is vitally important. As businesses we can do our part to enable our teams to talk openly about their mental health and inspire them to adopt positive daily rituals.
I for one find walking in nature with my lovely dog Coco (below) incredibly effective at relieving stress. We're so lucky to be based in Tring in Hertfordshire, which is an area of outstanding beauty. We have woods and lots of gorgeous countryside all on our door step to explore.
There are two key goals to Mental Health Awareness Week this year:
1) Inspire more people to connect with nature.
2) Convince decision makers at all levels that access to nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one.
Connect With Nature
As quoted from the Mind website "spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy (a type of formal treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.
Being outside in natural light can also be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year. And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems."
Despite all of the benefits of spending time in nature, many of us are not accessing it. According to the Mental Health Foundation a staggering 13% of UK households have no access to a garden. And teenages appear to be less connected with nature than ever before.
Tips To Help You Connect With Nature
Spending time outside surrounded by nature or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing by: improving your mood, reducing the feeling of stress or anger, helping you to connect with your local community and building confidence.
Tips To Get Closer To Nature
- Grow your own food or flowers.
- Walking or doing other forms of exercise outdoors.
- Observing nature and spending time with animals.
- If you have limited outdoor space, try bringing nature inside with lots of plants.
- Photographing nature.
- Take up a new hobbie like paddle boarding, or golf.
- Block out time in your diary during day light hours to get outside.
- Walk to the shops instead of driving.
- Take a dog for a walk. This could be a friends, your own, or one you've been matched with through the Cinnamon Trust.
Tips For Employers To Improve Mental Health Through Nature
- Encourage time away from screens, you could try walking calls or meetings.
- Support flexible working and help employees make time to spend outside in the sunlight.
- Send gift items to inspire employees to get out in nature.
- Create employee nature inspired interest groups.
- Make it ok for employees to tell you when they need to let of steam and get out.
- Fill your office with plants.
- Offer pet cuddle sessions in the office - See The Cuddle Club.
- Team away days in nature.