Mental Health Awareness Week is from the 10th-16th May, and this year’s theme is all about nature and how nature can support our mental health and wellbeing.
The theme this year has been set by The Mental Health Foundation to inspire people to connect with nature and notice the impact that it has on their mental health. Whether you tend to a house plant, listen to the birds, smell flowers, or even document your favorite nature spot, these are all fantastic ways to help improve your mental health through nature.
To help support this important week with all our colleagues across the business, we have launched a Sunflower competition, to help encourage everyone to #ConnectWithNature to help improve our mental health and wellbeing.
🌻 Sunflowers are often used as a symbol of hope for the millions of people around the world that struggle with their mental health. Not only that, a report in The Mental Health Journal* found that gardening helps to reduce stress and improve mood, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. We cannot wait to update you all in a couple months’ time with our Sunflower progress!
So, for this Mental Health Awareness week, we would like to encourage you all to take part in the 3 challenges the Mental Health Foundation have set, to help us all notice of the effects that connecting with nature has on our mental health:
- Experience nature 💐: take time to recognise the effects that nature has on your mental health. You might be surprised by what you notice through your regular activities!
- Share nature 🌈: Take a photo, video or sound recording of your experiences with nature throughout the week. You could share them on your social media channels using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek to join the discussion this week.
- Talk about nature 🌲: There are plenty of online resources available to help you discuss the role nature has in our mental health with your families and friends. You can find some from the Mental Health Foundation at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week and Mind at: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/mental-health-awareness-week/
Don’t forget to let us know how you get on this week, and if you have any experiences or photos you would like to share email us at [email protected]
Here are some of our other top 8 tips to help you this Mental Health Awareness Week:
- #ConnectWithNature: Take time to enjoy some fresh air and recognise how nature effects your mood.
- Identify your stresses and develop healthy responses: Once you know your source of stress, you can help reduce or reframe them. For example, deliberately choose to view change as a positive challenge.
- Take time to recharge: If things are getting a bit too much, remember to take a break to recharge your mind. Sleep plays a big part on your mental health, click here if you are experiencing problems with sleeping.
- Try yoga or gentle exercise before or after work: Physical activity helps us to de-stress and can increase your mental alertness, energy, and positive mood. Try to keep moving, and if you can, go for a walk in the fresh air during your lunch to help you feel recharged and refreshed. For some further reading, download this guide to more information on how exercise can help your mental health.
- Eating and drinking well: It’s no secret that your diet can play a big role in your mood and mental health, so it is important to ensure you are getting a well-balanced and healthy diet, click here to view a video how food can affect your mood. Try drinking 6-8 large glasses of water a day to keep you hydrated.
- Try some meditation if you are suffering with anxiety and poor mental health. Many people find practicing mindfulness helps them manage their day-to-day wellbeing. It can help you:
- Become more self-aware.
- Feel calmer and less stressed.
- Feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings.
- Cope with difficult and unhelpful thoughts
- Be kinder towards yourself.
Just 10 minutes of meditation does wonders for your brain, clears your mind, and allows anxious people to focus. Watch this video to help get you started:
- Keep a mood diary: If you are experiencing an episode of poor mental wellbeing or would like to keep track of where you are, we recommend using a mood diary such as MoodPanda, where you can track your moods to establish patterns and connect with a wider community of people.
- Take time for yourself: Self-care can be as simple as taking an hour to read a book, water your plants or clean a room if it helps you to feel more relaxed. Here are some self-care activities for you to try:
- Have a bath.
- Light a candle
- Try some meditation.
- Read a book.
- Play your favourite music.
- Go for a walk or run.
- Find a new hobby.
- Watch a good box set.
- Talk to your friends or loved ones.
And remember, be kind to yourself and be kind to your mind.
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*Mental Health Review Journal, 2013