Nature and mental health

Get close to nature to benefit your mental health

This week is ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ and May is also ‘National Walking Month’. At the Charlie Watkins Foundation, we know that walking benefits both mental and physical health; and exercising in nature can have further advantages.

We know that research has shown that being able to connect with our natural environment is beneficial for our mental health. Looking back on 2020, people’s mental health was highly affected when lockdown measures were introduced; and we were confined to our homes and our immediate surrounding area.

Now that we are able to travel further afield, we can go and enjoy more outdoor spaces. We understand that this is easier to access for some but not for others. However, if you are able to get out of the house try and get to an outdoor space as close to nature as possible; even if it is for a short while we encourage you to do so here we give some ideas for getting close to nature:

  • Even if it is only ten minutes here and there try and do some kind of outdoor activity each day.
  • If you need to go somewhere close by where you would usually take public transport or jump in a car; why not swap the shorter journeys for a walk?
  • Watch out for wildlife and listen to the great variety of sounds. It was widely reported that during the first lockdown many people heard bird song and insect humming for the first time in a long time just by taking the time to listen.  Many said it really helped to create a peaceful and calmer feeling.
  • Grow or pick your own food. If you don’t have a garden how about growing some herbs on a windowsill or in a window box?  Or perhaps buy a houseplant or two to decorate your home?
  • As restrictions lift further; you could help the environment by doing a litter pick, taking care to sanitise hands properly afterwards. There are also organised litter picks in local communities where you can go out with a group; which could be a good way to meet some other local people.

We also know that going for a walk with a friend or relative can have further benefits as it allows you to walk and talk. So, Saturday 3rd July 2021 we are planning our own ‘Walk and Talk’ event. This will be an opportunity to walk with family and friends to support the work of the Charlie Watkins Foundation. To find out more, or to organise your own ‘Walk and Talk’ event, please head to the event page on our website.

For more tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.

The Charlie Watkins Foundation strives to raise funding for vital projects to help young people across the UK who are facing serious mental health challenges.

With your help, we can continue our vital work; and give support to young people who need our help the most. If you would like to help us to continue to make a difference, please consider making a donation.