Every Year a week is dedicated to shining a light on Mental Health and raising awareness. We all have mental health that needs to be taken care of yet sometimes it is not a priority, we all know what we should be doing to take care of our physical health- eating healthy… getting active… drinking water… but do we know how to take care of our mental health? Life sometimes just gets too much, we are emotionally and socially drained and we need to take a break and accept it is ok to do so.
This year’s theme to raise awareness for mental health was nature; when I first saw the topic I had a slight apprehension and thought I would need to climb a mountain and take in panoramic scenes, or swim with a pod of whales in the sea or start liking spiders, it all felt like it was going to be a bit much and not very realistic for an urban indoorsy person like me, I must be sat with a blanket and book at all times… and no I am not 83 (ok maybe on the inside J )
So I am now mid awareness week with declining mental health as I am not at one with nature and no idea how to be – without a major shift in personality and it is still all a bit much on top of life that is a bit much! Then I remembered vaguely that old phrase ‘if I cannot get to the mountain, the mountain must come to me’ and my lightbulb pinged- nature is all around, it is everywhere I just need to make the effort to look (and possibly move from my blanket and book).
You can find nature on your doorstep- just look out of the window and watch the clouds go by, or open it slightly and listen to the sounds, from a bird song to a clap of thunder. I enjoyed viewing the stars at night- no idea what the constellations were like… star, big star, bright star, plane?! But it got me noticing and really seeing things I had not before.
Nature is also perfect to practice mindfulness skills with too and really use all senses to embrace.
5 things you can see– shapes in the clouds, blossoms on the trees, blades of grass, a spider in a web
4 things you can hear– birds calling, wind blowing through the branches, bird flapping its wings, buzz of a fly
3 things you can feel – the ground beneath my feet, the breeze on my arms, the air in my lungs
2 things you can smell– cut grass, rain in the air
1 thing you can taste– raindrops
What can you notice if you take 5?
You can bring nature to you too by planting seeds or feeding the birds or taking care of the environment around you, giving you a sense of purpose and positivity from doing something good.
You can even create nature combinations- mix what you love with nature… listen to music inspired by nature, I might even take my blanket and book outdoors!
At the end of awareness week I have realised there should be no extra ‘bit much’ added by this campaign, its intention was to give us all a reminder to take pause and notice nature and give our mental health a break. Nature is a free resource that we can tap into anytime with many positive benefits for wellbeing- even by just taking 5 and really noticing what is around us and not just this week… every week.
Take Care! Charlotte.
#Nature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #2021