Mental Health Awareness week (9th – 15th May) is an annual opportunity for the UK to collectively come together in raising awareness and focus on achieving good mental health. Here at Field Studies Council, we know nature and being outdoors naturally encourages improvements in mental health and wellbeing. In fact, studies show that regularly spending time in nature, for exercise, learning and just being, can result in a substantial risk reduction in all-cause mortality.
This year’s theme for mental health awareness week is ‘loneliness’ which affects millions of people across the UK. Loneliness of course has been made worse by the Covid 19 pandemic due to periods of isolation and lockdowns. Any steps where you can combine nature and eradicating loneliness has got to be a positive step forward to improved wellbeing.
Here are some ways we recommend reconnecting with nature…
80 Miles in May Challenge
There’s no better way to bring people together in the outdoors like a sponsored walk, jog or run. These types of events bring together all abilities and people from all walks of life. The 80 Miles in May Challenge will see participants aiming to walk, jog or run 80 miles over the month of May, getting people outdoors and spending quality time together.
Connect with your environment where you can immerse your senses to the sights, sounds, smells, texture and even taste of nature. This can really boost your mood and mental health.
Listen out for bird song.
Look out for the invertebrates in the undergrowth.
Smell the fresh scent of cut grass or the wildflowers around you.
Feel the texture of the plants and bark on the trees.
Forage (responsibly and if you know how) to taste the vibrant flavours of the earth.
There’s a lot to be said for ‘getting some fresh air’.
Combine Nature and Creativity.
Increase your sense of connection with nature creatively through photography, drawing, writing, or painting. We have certain field centres within our network which specialise in just this, offering courses where you can combine your love for nature and wildlife, with your creative side alongside likeminded others.
At Field Studies Council, Slapton Ley in Devon, we are offering an exciting Botanical Alchemy course with Laura Hoy. She will teach an appreciation for the natural ingredients, an understanding of where they come from and she will divulge their precious qualities which can inspire us to improve our everyday skin care routine, an important self-care ritual.
Walking and Nature Experiences with Field Studies Council.
Spending time in the great outdoors, exposed to natural light and immersed in nature can do wonders for how you feel. Studies have shown that regular time outdoors can improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your confidence and self-esteem and can be a great opportunity to meet new people.
Exploring nature and getting outdoors can be much more beneficial when you enjoy it with others. We offer a range of walking and nature experiences across the country allowing participants the chance to meet like-minded individuals and learn about wildlife along the way.
Join us in recognising and raising awareness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022using the hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Find out more about the Mental Health Foundation and this year’s campaign.