This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is Nature and how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health. The week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of mental health, is in its 21st year.
“This year the theme is on nature and its central role for our mental health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns and our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health.”
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation
I think we can all agree that the pandemic has shown us just how important getting outside is to our wellbeing. So how can we get our teenagers involved? The idea of ‘being in nature’ isn’t something that all teens will welcome with open arms!
Connect with nature
The Mental Health Foundation have suggested 7 top tips to connect with nature in order to improve mental health. Here’s our version, rewritten to appeal to teens…
Look for nature wherever you are
Try to notice one thing about the natural world every time you step outdoors. A birdsong, a clear sky, cool clouds. Why not document it over the week and create a short film to share using #ConnectWithNature?
Connect with nature using all of your senses
Just being quiet outdoors can boost your mental health. Take the time to listen to the sounds around you. Instant relaxation!
Get out into nature
Rope in a mate or a member of your family and plan a trip to the great outdoors. According to the MHF, “This can help you reduce your risk of mental health problems, lift your mood and help you feel better about things.“
Bring nature to you
The houseplant has never been more in – for all ages. Buy a little plant to take care of, even if your budget only runs to a small pot of herbs from the supermarket. (They smell great by the way!). If you’ve no idea where to start, have a look at this helpful article from Teen Vogue on hard to kill indoor plants.
Exercise in nature
Vary your routine and add in some fresh air fitness – ideally without the headphones! It’s an instant mood booster. If you already exercise outdoors, try a new route, especially if it takes you off the road and into the green.
Combine nature with creativity
Connect with nature through creativity, even if it’s only through taking some beautiful pictures on your phone. If the mood takes you, though, dance, draw or sing out of doors! It will help you find meaning and an emotional connection that will stay with you.
This one’s perfect for teens – we know you’re all eco warriors at heart. There’s a whole load of things you can do to help, from taking your litter home with you, to raising money, or joining awareness campaigns. This article from Tommy & Lottie, an awesome sustainable and ethical lifestyle brand, has a list of organisations you might want to check out.
If you want to see what others are doing to connect with nature, the Mental Health Foundation are encouraging everyone to use the hashtags #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
If you need help with your mental health, our chosen charity, Hector’s House, has a comprehensive collection of resources, as well as its Eat, Move, Love campaign that is a permanent way of reconnecting with nature.
We really hope Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is a huge success for all. Have a great week connecting with nature!
Louise & Anna x