Connect with nature to improve mental wellbeing

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Summer’s the time to take a ‘natural break’

It’s common for most of us to take some kind of break in the summer.

For students, and their parents, the summer holidays are a natural break between the end of a high-pressure, high-stress exam term – and the start of another high-pressure, heavy workload Autumn term.

Maybe you’re in the middle of summer holidays, taking time off work, or using some annual leave for much-needed downtime. Now’s the time to ‘reset’ – and recharge your emotional batteries.

But how do we make sure we give our minds a summer holiday too?

One of the most natural ­– and powerful – ways is to get closer to nature.

Nature is all around us

Being outside charges our emotional batteries rather than draining them. That’s why being outside; whether you’re meditating, drawing, exercising or just relaxing in the sunshine refreshes us more deeply ­– body and soul.

Whether you live close to the countryside, next to a park, or in a flat with no outside space, you can still connect with nature. It’s all around us.  Walk on to the next bus stop instead of your usual one, and you’ll experience a wealth of natural sights and sounds you might never have encountered previously. You might discover a community garden or notice those wildflowers in the middle of a roundabout. Allow yourself an extra ten minutes, so you can feel your spirits lift, and your stress levels fall.

You could make an hour’s walk a regular part of your week or make a daily break to sit in the sunshine. But it’s a great idea to plan in your downtime, so you don’t forget. Put yourself first.

Bringing the outside inside

And you can bring nature inside too – by treating yourself to a small bunch of fresh flowers each week. Or growing scented herbs or flowers on a sunny windowsill. Nurturing a plant is a great reminder that some things you can’t hurry. Nature won’t be rushed; neither should we.

Being creative in the fresh air

Escaping into nature can free your creativity too. And since being creative is as good for our mental health as being outside, drawing, journalling, or writing poetry alfresco is a win-win for your wellbeing.

And if you really want to appreciate the world around you, why not start a wildlife or nature journal? This is a wonderful way of making yourself slow down, and, through taking the time to marvel at the natural world, you might just learn a few new things in the process too!

So, take your personal journal, and your favourite Zebras with you, find a shady, secluded spot, and see where your imagination takes you. The beauty of the Earth can be a powerful inspiration.  (Check out our blog Why drawing nature is so good for your wellbeing.)

The healing power of nature

Nature is a great healer. A flower, a butterfly or a sunset doesn’t ask anything of us. Nature makes no demands, it doesn’t judge. Which is why your blood pressure drops and your feelings of anxiety ebb away when you’re away from people, and in a natural landscape.

You don’t have to do anything. You just need to be.

Feel the connection

Walking at the water’s edge, watching the tide come in, making a daisy chain or just seeing pictures in the clouds.

This month, reconnect with nature – and be kind to your mind.