Infoservice volunteer ‘Emma’ explains how the great outdoors helps her stay well
Whenever I’m feeling down or stressed, I find getting out in the fresh air really helps me to get things into perspective. Just being surrounded by nature has an almost instant, calming effect. Spring is a great time to enjoy nature as everything starts to come to life again.
It’s worth venturing out even when the weather isn’t great, too. As long as you have a good waterproof coat, getting a bit wet and windswept can really help take your mind off things!
Being surrounded by green helps me to connect with my body and be more mindful. My breathing tends to slow down and I relax into my surroundings. Just noticing birds feeding or singing can really lift my spirits.
It can be hard to feel the connection with nature when you live in a big city. However, there are little things you can do that can really help. For example, at the start of this year, I put up a bird feeder in a tree in the communal area at the back of my block of flats. I can see the feeder from my bedroom window. As the days have got lighter and longer, I have enjoyed seeing the birds come to the feeder and trying to identify what’s what. I often watch enviously as the birds fly off so easily and effortlessly. That freedom must be so exhilarating.
If you’re not particularly interested in birds, why not try a walk around your local park trying to identify the different types of trees or plants? We are fortunate in London to have lots of parks and commons. My local park is very close and on a hill. The climb up is worth it for the spectacular view of the city’s skyline. Just admiring the view, framed by lovely trees, is very uplifting.
Sometimes, getting out of the city altogether can really help elevate my mood. There are plenty of places you can get to by train, even for the day, including the seaside. There is something magical about the sea that both reminds me of being a child and makes me feel that I’m on holiday.
Seeing the ebb and flow of the tide reminds me of the certainty and power of the natural world.
This can be hugely reassuring when I feel anxious or uncertain about things in my own life.
So next time you feel that you need to lift your spirits, why not try connecting with nature? Even a short walk around the park can really help.