It’s always part of me as a person to be open and honest about things. So, I thought it was the right time to talk about something really important. Mental Health. I want to share reasons why nature is so important for the mind. So here are 3 ways that you can incorporate nature into your daily routines to help with your mental health
For a little context, I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I have done for as long as I can remember but very recently, it has been very prominent in my life. For me, anxiety is a very constant thing that I have learnt to manage and panic attacks tend to come and go. I can sometimes have times when they seem to stay with me for a while. A month or so ago I was really suffering from an ear infection which absolutely threw me off. I have never had it so bad and it just kept coming back. One thing that always triggers panic for me is being ill. I knew I would feel it but it hadn’t been so bad for a very long time. Coupled with some changes in routine with my husband starting a new job and realising that I was spending far too much time on my own. It all got a little out of control and the anxiety and panic attacks were happening several times daily.
It took me a few weeks to start to process it all and after getting some help and talking to people, I started to realise that I could acknowledge it all and learn how to process it. For me, being outside is always something that helps me in any situation so I created a plan to help and I want to share with you 3 things that helped me to feel myself and that I hope will help you if you ever feel the same…
We all know that flowers are my absolute love but gardening is also a huge passion of mine. We are lucky to have a small garden but even if you don’t have much space or no garden at all you can still enjoy the joy of it. Gardening is much more than seeing flowers grow. Getting your hands dirty is proven to reduce stress and it also helps massively with grounding. My favourite ways to help with anxiety in the garden are planting seeds, potting on and clearing. The past week I have started clearing the soil in our front garden and began planting the first of the spring bulbs. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be outside, doing something physical and getting my hands stuck into the soil.
One thing that I always aim for in our garden is to keep things a little wild. I don’t like to completely clear every leaf or plant straight away. In fact, we always leave leaves as they are great for wildlife and the soil too. We found a hedgehog a few months ago and have lots of birds that visit so I like to keep a little bit of ‘mess’ just in case.
Unless you have a fab glass greenhouse that you can really control, there isn’t too much seed sowing that can be done just yet. This doesn’t mean you can’t get planning for the spring though. Sowing seeds is such a simple task but allowing yourself to get lost in it gives you hope. You never plant anything without the desire for it to grow! It’s the perfect task for calmness, so make a brew and dig out those seed packets in the new year!
If you know me, you know I LOVE walking. When I was a child my mum said I used to want to walk everywhere rather than be in my pram so it’s definitely in my veins. In fact, if I managed nothing else but a good walk in a day, I would say that was a day well spent. Walking is one thing that I need as a constant in my life no matter what is going on. Even on the days when I have to spend an hour talking myself into leaving the house because I’m in a panic state. Even if I manage to only walk for 15 minutes around the block, the difference in my anxious state is so noticeable.
This week I took myself on a long solo morning walk around Delamere forest. Something which I haven’t done for a while. If you feel able to, I would recommend that every so often to take yourself out somewhere on a solo walk. Choose somewhere calm, where you know will be uncrowded and dedicate some time to yourself. Walking is not only amazing for the body physically, but it is also a great boost for the mind. It gives me time to clear my head, process anything that might creep into my mind and feel like I have achieved something. The one thing I will say about a long walk is to not rush. Walk at a slower pace and just take in everything you see – breathe in the air and acknowledge everything you see around you. My favourite time to walk is this time of year when the weather is a little cooler. The air feels fresh to breathe and the sensory aspect of what you see and feel is more boosted. Perfect for another grounding technique!
Ok, might be a little bit of a niche one but writing can be a really useful tool for anxiety and mental health. I have to admit, when people used to say journalling was a good idea, I thought “Why would I want to start writing things down about how I feel”? So, I decided to try writing about nature. I thought that it might be just as useful as the other two points I’ve talked about. And, it really has been helpful.
I’m a big writer anyway and have always loved writing about things and tend to fill millions of notebooks. I didn’t want to just start writing about anything when I felt it because I knew I would hold back and stop myself so I started writing about nature. Things from being in the garden or things from walking. Generally, just the things that I felt and the impact they had on me or little snippets of what I saw. Doing this was a really lovely way of expressing emotions on a page without really having to dig too much into the anxieties. Plus, if you do this, you can also keep the book you write in. On days when you need a pick me up or feel like actually getting outside is too hard, you can go back to it and read some of the things you wrote about nature. Then you can bring the outdoors into your life at that moment.
Everyone is absolutely different in the way they work and we all have different connections and processes so maybe one of these things might help you more than someone else and that is absolutely fine. I am no expert so this all comes from a very personal place.
If you are ever in a place where you are struggling with anxiety or suffer from panic attacks like me then always know that you’re not on your own. Even if you feel it. Never be afraid of reaching out or opening up about how you feel. I really hope these ways that nature is good for the mind can help you if you need it. If anyone would love to chat more on any topics then I am always here so please email me or pop me a message on Instagram.
Lots of love,