Green Health Week is upon us, running from 13th to 21st May. The astute amongst you will note that this coincides rather neatly with Mental Health Awareness Week, but is it a coincidence? As I am sure you're already aware if you're reading this, we're big fans of how being in nature can benefit your mental health - and it's not just us, there is plenty of research to prove it. Fitting nicely into this is the theme for this year's GHW, the 5 ways to wellbeing in nature. I'm sure I've written about this before, but searching through the old blogs wasn't doing my wellbeing any good, so here briefly (as there is still bunting to be made, we're really celebrating this year) are some ways to connect with nature under each of the headings.
Connect: nature offers us a way of feeling connected, both to other people and as part of the wider natural world. Use all your senses to connect with nature and celebrate nature with other people. We're fans of cups of herbal tea, preferably taken outside amongst the trees, feeling the sunlight and breeze on your skin, and savouring the taste and smell of the herbs.
Take notice: be aware of the world around you, noticing nature and how it makes you feel is the key to developing a closer relationship with nature – which is good for you and provides something to talk to others about. Trying to remember three good things that you notice in nature every day and writing them down every evening, is a great practice for this one. It's also a great excuse to buy a new notebook, to make it more official.
Give: do something for nature. Feed the birds, volunteer for a local green project, recycle (or even better buy things with low or no packaging), grow a tree, plant some wild flowers.
Be active: take time to walk in nature when you can, and be aware of the nature that is always around you. Research shows that activity in natural environments also brings greater benefits than exercise elsewhere. So you could go for a run or a cycle, or try out the outdoor gym equipment in the park. Or you could get involved in some conservation volunteering which will get your heart rate up and help nature at the same time.
Learn: it's not just about physical activity though. Rediscover a childlike wonder for nature, we are part of the wider natural world and nature is important for human health. Learn more about nature by watching TV shows about the natural world or reading books about nature. Even looking at pictures of nature has been shown to improve your mood, so take some time to look at some photos or visit a gallery.
We want to help you connect to nature this Green Health Week by trying out some of the 5 ways. We'll have leaflets and some wee goodies available at the LAMH shop in Hamilton and at ONECAN in Carluke. We'll also be out and about at a range of events, so keep your eyes on our social media feed for more information. You can see an overview of the activities here. We look forward to connecting to nature with you!