The 10th May marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a yearly event started by the Mental Health Foundation that encourages us to talk about mental health. This year, the theme is #ConnectWithNature – aimed at encouraging us all to stop and appreciate the nature around us every day, something more and more of us have been doing throughout lockdown. With nature being shown as one of the most popular ways people have tried to sustain good mental health throughout the pandemic, this year, the Mental Health Foundation wants to raise awareness of how beneficial nature can be. Over half of people in the UK said that being in nature was their preferred way of coping with stress related to the pandemic, so it’s clear that its certainly played some sort of role in keeping our minds fresh during lockdown.
Since moving to Bath, I’ve been dragged on a number of walks, and I must admit, I’ve actually quite enjoyed them. Near our house we have the most incredible views of the city, and plenty of quiet fields and woodlands to explore. Throughout lockdown, we tried to go for at least one walk every week, and before Christmas, when you were allowed to meet other people outdoors, we met with some friends for a “wine walk” where we would bring travel mugs filled with wine. It was awesome.
It wasn’t until I started running again that I REALLY started to appreciate the surroundings near to me even more. Not only did some have some incredible views, but others had lambs and sheep. Yes, I’m a grown ass adult who still loves farm animals. Running up to the field where the sheep were would be a highlight of my run, and they’d always make me smile even when I was dying from doing my Couch to 5K. Sometimes it wouldn’t just be sheep I’d spot either – I’ve occasionally spotted baby bunnies on my runs, and they’ve genuinely made my day. Little things and all that.
What I love about going for walks and runs is that most of the time, they’re completely cut off. When I go for a run, my phone is hidden in my arm band, and because I don’t have any hand sanny, I won’t touch it. When I go for a walk, my phone will be buried in my bag, or even left at home. I think on one occasion, I took a photo of the view, and that was it. It’s so nice to be “unplugged” for an hour or so. You may not think it makes much of a difference, but believe me, it does. It may sound a bit wanky, but sometimes, seeing those views can really help you. In those few minutes, you feel grounded, and you’re truly in the moment.
Seven Things I Love the Most About Nature
The smell of freshly cut grass. Dreamy.
Seeing dogs out on their walks. It’s a bonus when you spot a pooch with a ball/stick in their mouth – I genuinely wish I could be that happy.
Daffodils popping up in the spring. Although the only thing I can think of is Jay from The Inbetweeners.
Lambs. I love them.
Fresh bouquets of flowers and how they smell.
Fuck it – not just lambs, ALL of the baby animals. I love them.
The little wagtails that visit our garden. They’re just the cutest birds.
What are your favourite things about nature? Have you found it’s helped with your mental health during lockdown? Let me know in the comments!