Feeling blue? Taking the time to appreciate your natural surroundings is critical for preventing mental distress, according to research from the Mental Health Foundation.
Indeed, nature – the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week – is especially pertinent following the multiple lockdowns and restrictions we have experienced in the past year.
As the country eases out of the measures that have dictated our lives for so long, the news speaks of beach huts, holiday homes and camping sites fully booked for the months ahead, as people flock to the countryside and the sea.
But when your mental health is at a low point, or stress is affecting your quality of life, sometimes just getting dressed is a win – let alone packing your suitcase and going off on an adventure.
It’s the small, regular acts we do to connect with the natural world – and each other – that build up to make the biggest difference over time. That’s why we shared some of the small things we do to support our mental wellbeing, with a focus on how we nurture ourselves through nature. Check out some of the tips shared by AB colleagues below:
I start the day with a coffee in the garden. I leave my phone inside and take in the fresh air. Working from home has made it more difficult to switch off and it feels like between one screen or another, we are constantly taking in information, so for 15 minutes every morning, I make sure that it’s just me and my thoughts, and my coffee.
Christian Kett, Designer
I’ve really got into doing mindful walks around my local park – it’s so interesting focusing on the different senses to see what things you pick up.
Lucy Ballance, Account Manager
I collect seashells, pretty stones, and other natural treasures I spot and arrange them around the house. I find bringing nature indoors helps me feel calm and connected to the outside world.
Meg Lewis, Content Manager
I go out for a walk every day carrying nothing but my keys, so I can fully appreciate the greenery around me and feel more immersed in nature. I’m not distracted by anything and so hear and notice more. It’s lovely to hear the birds, spot a squirrel up a tree or get a quick stroke from a passing doggo.
Lucy Clapham, Content Manager
Running helps me decompress negative feelings and helps me remain calm during stressful periods. Hard work when it’s cold outside, but even feeling the fresh air can be enough to lift my day.
Gaby Tepougoff, Head of Creative
I go for a walk in my local park as often as I can. It has a tree trail that teaches you about the different species, which helps me connect with my surroundings. The fresh air, exercise, wildlife and greenery brings me calm and makes me feel more present in the moment.
Andri Johannsson, Designer
I’ve found making time to talk to my colleagues about something other than work has been crucial to keeping my sense of perspective, and help stop feelings of loneliness while working from home. It can be a Teams tea break or just some chatty messages!
Jennifer Hardwick, Content Manager
I try to give myself a gift every day. It could be a fancy cup of tea, 10 minutes in the garden, or wearing my best clothes even though no one else is going to see them. It makes all the difference to my mood!
Abi Terry, Client Services Director