Raising awareness of mental health has certainly been a topic of interest over the last fifteen months. The pandemic that shook the world has challenged our wellbeing and it's still here for a while!

During these uncertain times, we may experience feelings of stress or anxiety far more frequently than we have done previously.   While it’s vital to stick to the latest Government advice around COVID-19, it’s still possible to bring nature in to your lives. From local parks or your nearest river or canal, to window-boxes and even houseplants, we can all benefit from the nature around us

This year the topic is themed around connecting with nature. Our wellbeing hub has been supporting communities during the pandemic  by using online platforms and some in person sessions following the COVID-19 guidelines.  We have recently added to our weekly activities schedule more outdoor sessions, the perfect opportunity to connect with nature.  This blog gives you some tips on supporting your mental health and also the opportunity to learn about the sessions that are available to you. 

    1. Green Spaces

    There is a lot of  research exploring the link between time spent in nature with a reduced risk of mental health problems, improved mood and reduced stress and some evidence to suggest it helps to support those with anxiety and depression,

    Whether you live in the countryside surrounded by green spaces, or in the city, there is nature everywhere. From local parks, gardens, canals, or courtyards, it’s worthwhile seeking out these natural spaces if you can do so in a safe way, following the latest Government advice.  

    If you’re struggling to find an area near you, or you can’t go out at the moment, why not try and bring nature to you. This could be planting herbs or flowers in your garden or balcony, or introducing some house plants into your personal space. Even keeping your windows open to let in fresh air and getting some natural sunlight can be beneficial.  

     2. Relaxation and Mindfulness

    Taking quiet time to reflect on your natural surrounds can be really positive for mental health and wellbeing.

    If you’re not sure how to practice ‘mindfulness’, just take your time to be aware of how you’re feeling, your surroundings, what you can hear, smell, touch and see. Apart from what you’re doing right at that moment, try to let other thoughts drift away by focusing on your senses. 

    3.Interacting with Wildlife

    Being around animals and wildlife can also be beneficial for overall wellbeing.  Taking your dog out for a walk to the park, in nature is a wonderful way to interact. Even from your own home, take a look outside your window and see if you can spot birds in your garden. If you can’t see them, listen for them instead! 

    You may like to join in our photography competition , Chasing butterflies see below.

    4.Creativity

    Nature can be great inspiration to get creative! This can be through painting, drawing, crafting something, photography or writing – the possibilities are endless.  

    You may like to participate in our craft sessions, see below. 

    5. Gardening and Conservation

    Gardening can have huge benefits for your wellbeing, and studies have found that time gardening can improve mood, increase quality of life, and overall wellbeing. 

    Planting and growing your own food has huge environmental benefits too, from significantly reducing food miles, eating more seasonal produce, and knowing exactly where your food comes from. It’s a win-win! 

    Join our ACP Gardening groups every week, meet new people, learn some tips, and plant some herbs, vegetables and flowers see below.

    ACP ACTVITIES SUPPORTING WELLBEING 

    Below you can find details of our activities, feel free to email/message or contact us for further information and on how you can join. 

    We hope that you find this blog helpful and it inspires you to get out in nature more. 

    At ACP we serve the local and surrounding community and all are sessions are  free and aimed to encourage people from the local and surrounding community to look after their overall wellbeing.

    You can find our activities timetable on our wellbeing page;

    Women Wellbeing Hub | ASHIANA COMMUNITY PROJECT (rit.org.uk) , all our activities are free and are in line with government guidelines. 

    Contact us : [email protected]