Written by Gloucester Projects Team Leader Zoe Warner
There are plenty of things that you can do to try and help improve your own mental health. Some may be obvious, whilst others might not be. One of the best things that you can do is to get back to nature.
But what do we mean by this, and what benefit does spending time in nature actually have?
When it comes to getting back to nature, many people think that this just means going for a walk or sitting out in their garden. Of course, these are great ways to be active and get some fresh air; however, there is more to spending time in nature than this.
Walking is excellent, but to really upgrade this, you could always take a nature walk. Think about what surrounds you, about the sounds and the sights, and about the flowers, plants and animals. This is an even better activity if you can spend the time with your family.
You should never underestimate just how fantastic a picnic can be in the fresh air. Pick your favourite spot, come together with those who are most important to you and make sure that you have plenty of tasty treats, and it's guaranteed that you will feel so much better in no time at all.
If you are lucky enough to live near a beautiful blue space, then another great way to enjoy a spot of nature is to take a walk along the beach, feeling how amazing the sand is on your feet. Even better, if you are feeling brave or the weather is warm enough, then you can always dip your feet into the water. Either paddling around in the shallower water or, if you think you can take it, diving straight in. If this takes your fancy, there are lots of wild swimming groups across our region which you could join. (Always take care around water).
Now you know how to get back to the great outdoors, the next question is why you might want to spend time in nature.
One of the most significant benefits of spending time in nature for your mental health is improving your overall mood. Especially if you are feeling low, it can also help you feel more relaxed, even if you face some incredibly challenging times that you think might take their toll on your mental health.
Being in nature is also likely to be active, which means that you are taking steps to take control of and improve your physical health. As well as doing this, you are also releasing serotonin into your bloodstream, which will instantly make you feel better.
Another great thing about being out in nature is that you will have a chance to be social. When you are feeling low, the last thing that you will often want is to be around people. However, sometimes that is all that you need. When you are out in nature, you will meet people; these can often be strangers, but seeing someone else is going to make you feel so much better and happier.
So, what are you waiting for? Want to know more about how to improve your mental health and enjoy the world around you? Why not try it out for yourself and see how much better you can make yourself feel?