I couldn't let this week - May 10th - 16th 2021 - slip by without writing a post to support Mental Health Awareness Week, especially as the theme this year is one that is particularly close to my heart - NATURE!
And before anyone flags up that I'm in rather late in posting, there's a reason for that. As you all know, I've long been an advocate of taking A DAILY DOSE OF GREEN THINGS GROWING, I've even made it a predominant theme in the Nightingale Square series and therefore, I wanted to share this post now in the hope of keeping the momentum going.
The mental health benefits of connecting with nature aren't just for MHA week, they're for life!
There are so many ways you can connect with nature and most of them won't cost a penny and can be enjoyed all year round.
Within my own daily routine, I incorporate nature practically from the moment I open my eyes in the morning. I listen to the birds chattering before I've even got out of bed and then take my familiar path around the village for a brisk half an hour walk.
Four thousand steps later and I've not only had some exercise, I've also checked on the progress of a whole variety of trees, shrubs, bulbs, flowers, insects and birds! I return home feeling refreshed, revived and inspired. The only days I don't take the walk are when the weather is so appalling and then I turn to my houseplants.
I have someone close to me who doesn't enjoy green spaces and getting outside in the same way that I do and I've had friends on social media saying the same thing. This might be because of anxiety or a prohibitive disability and that's where keeping houseplants can help bridge the gap.
I recently undertook an online course with Thrive who, in their own words -
'use gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.'
The course acknowledged that tending houseplants had similar mental health benefits to getting outdoors and if you can combine their nurture with listening to the birds through an open window, or even via a birdsong app, then that's even better! If the weather is grim and I can't have the window open, I'll often have birdsong playing in the background. It takes my attention away from my tinnitus.
If you want to take the connection to nature further, then how about, growing your own? You don't need much space at all to raise a tomato plant and some salad leaves. Being a part of the whole process from seed, to plant, to plate, is so exciting!
Spring, for me, always brings with it a desire to push seeds into a tray, pot or border. I love getting my hands in the soil and growing something! This year I'm raising salad leaves in a plastic container which came from the supermarket and originally had strawberries in it. Waste not, want not!
Wherever, however, whenever you connect with nature, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I'd love to hear what you do to benefit from green things growing, so please let me know, either on social media or via the comments box below.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, and a future filled with nature!