Thursday, 19 March 2020

Spring into action

There are many reasons why spring is one of the most-loved seasons. Not only can we start to enjoy longer days and lighter evenings, it’s a time when nature comes to life once again. 

During the current health situation, the outdoors is more important than ever to protect our mental wellbeing. Find out why getting outside should be high on your list of priorities.

The benefits of spring

  • More hours of daylight provide us with vitamin D which promotes mental wellbeing, decreases risk of heart disease and regulates our mood.
  • Seeing new-born animals gives us a feeling of joy and hope.
  • Regrowth of plants and trees brings colour to our surroundings and produces oxygen, which can improve our mood and make us feel more relaxed.
  • Better weather encourages a more active lifestyle outdoors, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • More time spent outdoors can reduce the risk of depression, improve concentration and assist our quality of sleep.

When we take all of the above factors into consideration, the benefits of spring really do have a wonderful effect on our mental and physical health. As well as boosting our mood, it can also boost our self-confidence and self-esteem.

To get the most out of this magical season, there are many ways to get up close and personal with all forms of nature so that you start reaping the rewards of spring.

Nature activities

Make a concerted effort to become more active. By going on wildlife walks among nature trails, you’ll be getting exercise, and it’s a great way to practise mindfulness and appreciation for the natural beauty around you.

Take time to stop and watch the wildlife. Observing creatures in the wild can help to clear and focus the mind. By seeing the bigger picture and appreciating how incredible the world around us is, it can give us strength and the ability to deal with stressful situations in a more positive way.

Spend time in your garden. By creating colourful outdoor spaces with bedding plants or pots, we can create a sense of calm and help fight off depression. You can also bring wildlife into the space with plants that attract bees and butterflies or even buy a bird feeder. Bringing wildlife to your garden will give you a great sense of achievement and hours of pleasure.

Try growing your own. You might like to try growing your own herbs and fruit and vegetables. As well as saving money on your groceries, it’s a great stress reliever and you’ll be eating healthy too.

Have a picnic. While social activities may be discouraged at the moment, that doesn't stop you having a picnic in your garden, on your balcony or in the park or a local beauty spot with a family member. Just remember to take your hand gel and observe government advised protocols.

Get sporty! There are a whole host of sporting activities you can enjoy outside, from cycling and canoeing to rock climbing or surfing. Outdoor sports can considerably improve both your physical and mental health. An article by Harvard Health Publishing highlights the benefits of exercising outdoors and looks at how it can reduce stress.

If you’d like more information about nature and its mental health benefits, the mental health charity Mind has put together some helpful tips and ideas for outdoor activities.

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