Mental Health Awareness Week will take place between 10th and 16th May 2021. The focus of the week is nature.
What Is It and Why Is It Important?
This week is an annual event to raise awareness of mental illness, help everyone in the UK to be more aware and to think of how to achieve good mental health – something we at OxfordCBT are passionate about. Organised annually by the Mental Health Foundation, which was started 21 years ago, they choose and set a different theme every year, organise activities and act as hosts for the duration. Over time, this event has grown to become a huge success -throughout the UK and globally.
It is an important event that focusses on starting conversations about mental health and how our day to day life can affect it. We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part and to think about the theme of nature. How can we connect with nature and how nature can aid our mental health!
2021 Theme: Nature
It is well known that nature and the outside can have a significant effect on our mental health and can help to improve and protect our wellbeing. During the last 12 months, with facing a global pandemic, nature has been extremely important. Being outside and going for walks in our local areas was how we all spent the majority of our time from last March and there is research to show how this aided our mental health during such a challenging time. Nature is something that is all around us, and this year the Foundation want people to see how helpful it can be for our mental state.
Activities To Do During The Week
As the theme this year is all about nature, there are lots of things that you can do to start to make more of a connection. The Foundation want people to start noticing nature and making a habit of incorporating it into daily routine. Some ideas include:
– Stopping to listen to a bird singing
– Look after a plant
– Notice what you can hear/see/smell whilst outside
– Enjoy the beautiful scenery that is on your doorstep.
Share images or videos of yourselves taking in the nature around you and on your doorstep. Share these on your social media using #Connectwithnature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Tag @oxfordcbt and let us know how these images or videos make you feel!
How To Build Your Connection With Nature
Although nature plays an important role in aiding and supporting our mental health and is a daily part of some peoples lives, for others, the idea or the ability to be outside with nature isn’t part of the routine. Here are some top tips to help your connection with nature:
#1 Find nature wherever you may be. Nature is all around us, in big and small ways. Try to notice nature wherever you are in a way that is meaningful to you. You don’t need to be in a big green space – if you live in an urban area, find a flower growing through the concrete!
#2 Use all of your senses. Taking some quiet time in your natural surroundings using all of your sense can be a massive boost to your mental health. What can you see/hear/feel/smell while you are outside.
#3 Spend time visiting natural places. Try to visit green spaces such as parks or woodlands, or blue spaces such as beaches or rivers. If it feels scary to be doing this alone, then go with a friend or family member.
#4 Bring nature to you. It might be hard to find natural places due to your busy lifestyle or where you live so try to bring nature into your home. Having a house plant is a good way to see and experience nature everyday.
#5 Exercise in nature. Walking or running outdoors (if you are physically able to) can be a great way to relieve your stress or anger, tiredness or sadness. Try to avoid listening to music, and instead listen to the natural sounds around you.
#6 Protect nature. Taking care of something can make you feel good about yourself. Do what you can to look after nature such as, recycling or walking instead of driving or picking up a piece of litter that you see. This can help you feel like you are doing your bit.
All clinicians at Oxford CBT are Cognitive Behavioural Therapists or Psychologists, offering evidence-based interventions and support for a range of issues for both young people and adults. If you would like to book an appointment you can do so on our online booking portal. If you have a question please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.