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10th May 2021

Top 5 Tips to Boost Your Mental Wellbeing Through Nature

The theme of this year's  Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature. It focuses on looking at nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder. We have put together 5 tips to help boost your mental health through nature. You can download the PDF version below and share it with your colleagues, family and friends.

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When was the last time you just stopped and looked at a plant or tree? I stopped this morning. I noticed how incredibly green the tree in my neighbour's garden looked against the blue of the sky. I had no phone distractions, no laptop pinging messages, just 3 minutes of peace. It felt like I had pushed a reset button, and gave me a spring back in my step.

The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week that runs from 10-16 May is Nature. 2020 was a challenging year and research by the Mental Health Foundation showed that going for a walk was one of the top coping strategies that people have highlighted. The benefit of being outdoors and in nature is backed up further by research carried out by the Ramblers that found 68% of people reported green spaces as helping with their mental wellbeing.

Having just completed the Mental Health First Aid at Work course with MHFA England with 11 colleagues at Quality Compliance Systems, what I learned was that to be able to look after others, you need to make time to look after yourself. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week here are 5 top tips for you to try.

Get your hands dirty. Did you know that contact with soil is thought to release a chemical in the brain called serotonin? This is a mood-boosting hormone that also helps sleeping, eating and digestion. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under the soil and has been found to mirror the effect on parts of the brain that drugs like Prozac provide. If you don’t have a garden, there are other ways of connecting with the soil, tubs and indoor planters are a great way to do this.

Bring the outdoors, indoors. An indoor plant retailer has seen a 500% increase in people buying plants for their home. Whilst you might not have space for a giant fig leaf plant or yucca, why not bring in some leaves, a few pebbles or a bird feather into your home to help that feeling of connection with nature.

Go for a walk, switch off your music and your phone. A mindful walk is an excellent way to clear your mind of the constant chatter in your head and restore your sense of focus. Switching off distractions allows you to focus on what is around you, the sounds, the smells, and how your body feels.

Have a picnic. The mental health foundation explores the impact that COVID has had on millions, the feeling of loneliness and isolation. As lockdown eases and the weather improves, grab a blanket and a rug and a friend or family member and have a picnic. You could even take a work colleague at lunchtime and spend 20 minutes eating your lunch outside.

Look up at the night sky. You might work shifts and getting in touch with nature in the daytime is tricky. Looking up at the stars isn’t going to cost you anything, you can socially distance and a 2016 study highlighted that people who gazed at the stars felt more connected to nature and felt calmer. If the weather isn’t great, you can bring the night sky into your home with apps like Star Walk 2 and Sky Walk.

Why not give one of the tips a go next week and let us know how you get on by sharing your selfies on our QCS Facebook forum.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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