This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is nature. To tell us more about the impact nature can have on our mental health and how we can get our fix of green therapy, we’re joined by Lucy, our People Experience Coordinator, who is also one of Camelot’s Mental Health First Aiders…
Making friends with Mother Nature
I’ve never been someone who’s into extreme sports, or even going to the gym. My happy chemicals tend to come from binging on Disney+ or relaxing in a friend’s garden with a gin and tonic! But since the COVID-19 pandemic last year, I can honestly say that whilst the above still tops my agenda most weekends, I’ve become more in tune with nature.
Being instructed to stay at home and do only one walk a day reframed my somewhat lazy and introverted mindset and encouraged me to get out. I live on my own and even though I’ve embraced independence, I’d be lying if I said I never felt an element of loneliness and detachment from my loved ones, which was when I knew I needed to get my fix of fresh air in order to look after my wellbeing. Being surrounded by woodland and the variety of wildlife sounds has allowed me to enjoy nature a lot more and has even alleviated my feelings of anxiety.
A dose of flower power
Did you know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google searches for “flower delivery” doubled from March 2019 to March 2020? These small slivers of joy with their beautiful blooms and varying smells and colours are scientifically proven to boost your mood, relieve stress, and lift your spirits.
I also discovered edible flowers a couple of years ago. I was in the most beautifully decorated cafe in London, called Feya, and I had the most tasty pancakes sprinkled with edible flowers. They were an absolute game changer. They made the pancakes extra appetising, really pretty and my eyes lit up with warmth in my belly! I highly recommend going.
Growing with nature
My Dad has always been an outdoor kind of guy, constantly in the garden come rain or shine. He’s always growing something and of late it’s potatoes. One warm summer day back in 2019, I took an interest in what he was doing and he volunteered to help me plant some tomatoes and a mint plant. I’d never found gardening or growing my own food any fun but once these had started to bloom to an edible stage, I felt really great about myself. I had planted my own food and there I was - enjoying a chicken and feta salad with my tomatoes and sipping on a delicious mint tea (or mojito - like in this photo)!
There are a number of benefits to gardening and growing your own food - and just some of these include reducing depression, anxiety and stress-related symptoms and improving concentration and engagement.
Start your journey with nature
I hope at least one of these things has encouraged you to get down to nature - I promise you’ll see the positive benefits to your mental health.