There is another glorious reason to go walking this month, and that’s the impact it can have on our wellbeing. There is a good reason why Nature has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10 – 16th).
The organisers know, as we do, that as we emerge from the latest lockdowns our mental health and wellbeing might well have taken a battering. We believe every one of us has felt the impact in some way – this isn’t something that affects just a proportion of the community. It might be worry about health, stress about work or education or training, or the isolation experienced as a result of being cut off from friends and colleagues. The Mental Health Foundation’s research shows that going outside for walks was one of the country’s top coping strategies this last year, with more than four in 10 reporting that being in green spaces has been vital for their mental health. Interestingly it wasn’t just about being in nature, it was about noticing it – with many who couldn’t get out logging into websites which are streaming wildlife into their homes.
During the week (and it’s worth connecting with mentahelath.org.uk on their website or on social media using the #ConnectWithNature) they’ll be sharing evidence to explain how and why nature matters and – crucially – how more people can make the connection via opportunities to ensure everyone has a fair chance of feeling the benefits. They want to hear from us all to strengthen their case and to make a bigger difference than ever. Crucially, though, they also have a ton of tips and ideas you can use in your daily routine, family life or work and school setting. We love it.