When we struggle with mental health, we can feel overwhelmed and coping with daily life can become challenging to manage. The day-to-day requirements for work, life and family can leave little time for you to escape to a place that helps you find peace, which is why it is worth making time for nature, even if for a few minutes every day.
As humans, we are deeply connected to the natural world outside, and exploration of nature can strengthen our personal well-being. There is growing evidence that suggests exposure to natural environments is associated with mental health benefits for reducing feelings of anger and stress, reducing symptoms of depression, and anxiety, improving mood and sense of calm and improving mental cognition
The benefits of being in nature are related to our senses, from the shapes and colours of the plants you see to the aromatic scents that nature gives off. Breathing in the air as you walk in nature naturally encourages deeper breathing which has a calming effect on the nervous system.
Allow your mind to be present in what you see and hear. Listen to the winds rustling through the trees, the sounds of songbirds or chipmunks calling to one another. Touch the gentle petals of a blooming flower or pick up pinecones as the seasons change. Smell the earth and the woodland floors that are covered in wildflowers. Look under rocks and ponds for signs of frogs or growing tadpoles, or reach out to catch the fallen leaves as the seasons' change. If you allow yourself to just be present in nature without realizing it, you are practising mindfulness.
- Start small by actively thanking someone when they do something for you
- If you live by a park or beach and notice it is a bit messy, clean it up without asking
- Take up letter writing or card giving and randomly send a card to a family or friend that needs a lift
- Volunteer your time. Don’t over-commit yourself but perhaps a few hours a month or more if your schedule permits
- Offer to visit a lonely person in a senior’s home
Source your nature spot
Finding nature in the city may be more difficult, but even big cities are required to provide green space. Look around your urban jungle; nature can pop up in even the most unlikely places.
Challenge yourself to find local parks or, when time commits, source out conservation areas around you or walking trails that you may not have explored before.
Nature is for everyone, and it is essential that everyone can access nature, regardless of their circumstances. It can have a calming and enchanting effect on your life, and if only for a few minutes, it can help you disconnect from the stress of daily life and reconnect with yourself
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." – Rachel Carson
Give Yourself Permission to Breathe
Remember to breathe!
Wherever you are in your life, we hope you give yourself permission to breathe. We hope that you take time every day to take stock of all the amazing parts of yourself, and you check personal criticism at the door.
The world we live in today is not easy; demands and stresses are bearing down on us every day. Our hope for you is that in a world that is always rushing, you can find a moment of stillness in your life to just be in the moment. Whatever that moment is.
If you feel grief, give yourself permission to feel it. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a rest. If you feel joy, then allow yourself to celebrate happiness. If you are not sure what you are feeling, release the pressure of trying to define the feelings and just be in the moment
Whatever happened today, this week or this month, give yourself “Permission to Breathe
- To remember
- To honour
- To celebrate
- To nurture
- To practice thankfulness
- To laugh
- To cry
- To Breathe