This week, the 10th-16th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for this year is nature which is perfect for me to talk about as it combines two topics on my blog. Over the last few months, nature has really helped heal my soul. I have found that weeding, harvesting veg/flowers and being amongst wildlife have been so good for me. In this post, I’m going to share a few ways that nature can improve your mental health.
(Updated August 2022)
Watch a nature documentary
Sometimes, going outside or on a walk was hard for me. When I was feeling depressed, I didn’t want to leave my bed let alone the house. If I was feeling really anxious, something that would help take my mind off the situation was animals. My cats really helped me but if they were outside, I would like to put on one of David Attenborough’s documentaries. One particular favourite is Our Planet, episode 2 – Frozen Worlds. I don’t know what it is, but watching polar bears, penguins etc. calmed me. You can find Our Planet on Netflix and iPlayer. There are lots of other nature documentaries out there too which you should definitely check out.
Caring for the environment
Caring for the environment is another way that nature can improve your mental health. Serotonin is created when we do something that makes us feel happy, and looking after the planet definitely makes me happy. A few ideas of what you can do:
- Making eco-friendly decorations | Blogmas 2020
- 5 eco-friendly chocolate brands you need to try
- How to have an eco-friendly picnic
- 15+ ways to upcycle plastic
- How to have a sustainable Halloween
Look after a plant
I’m not sure what it is but there’s something so peaceful about looking after a plant. I have quite a few succulents and love to have them with me in the corner of my room. I also have a Monstera Deliciousa plant which I got for my birthday in March, it is growing so quickly. I’m always looking forward to repotting it and seeing how many roots it has. My brother gave me a plant (which I can’t quite remember the name of), and I bought a Snake plant at the uni plant sale. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think a Snake plant is a bit like a giant succulent. Mine hasn’t grown yet!
Related post: 6 ways that trees benefit us
I absolutely love taking photos of flowers, bees and butterflies. Having a garden in lockdown is something that I’ve been really grateful for! I was very anxious about walking near others so basically just stayed in my garden or occasionally went to my parent’s allotment. Those are the two main places I went but now that I’m in Bournemouth and go out most days, I love going out in nature to see lots of flowers on my walks. At the moment, I have been loving going out on butterfly walks and ticking off species on my butterfly bucket list!
Continue reading: 4 ways nature can improve your mental health
I have recently become more interested in bird watching. I took a unit at uni called behavioural ecology, and for one of my assignments, I had to observe the behaviour of a swan. A lot of people don’t like swans, but I adore them! You need much to bird watch, but it can be fun to go to a bird hide. Sometimes bird reserves provide binoculars, but if you don’t have any, they aren’t essential for seeing birds. They are also likely to have bird guides, though, of course, you can bring your own. I haven’t been to that many bird hides, but I’ve seen Swallows, Canadian Geese, and a few others.
Getting creative in any form has always helped my mental health – writing, painting, bullet journaling, drawing etc. Of course, my favourite thing to paint is flowers, but I have recently been drawing birds too. I would love to do more spontaneous painting, I’d like to just pick up my paints, brushes and a bottle of water and walk down to the park or the beach. Sitting on grass and painting in the sunshine sounds ideal to me! Another creative idea to improve your mental health is going to a pottery painting place. I have been going with one of my friends, and it is so relaxing to have some time away from studying.
This idea is similar to looking after a plant, but why not try your hand at gardening? You might turn out to have green fingers! Volunteering for 2 months at a vegetable farm has made me want to grow my own food even more. My parents have an allotment so I am lucky enough to help out there. It is a bit hard in a student house for me to grow things, but I am hoping to grow some vegetables in grow bags. You can get really cheap ones at Wilko, and they had a seed sale recently so I have purchased some carrot seeds to try. If you don’t have any garden space, you could grow some herbs on a windowsill. Parsley, chives and basil are my favourites.
Which ways does nature improve your mental health?
Best wishes, Cx
I love being out in nature 😍🌸 I find the sounds soothing, life can be chaotic so it’s great to watch nature documentaries and even better to get outside. My favourite places are in forests or being surrounded by books 📚
These are all great ways to enjoy nature! I love David Attenborough. Have you seen is latest series “Life in Colour”? It is about the importance of colour in the animal world and it’s very interesting. It’s only 3 episodes so you can easily watch it in an evening. I really enjoyed it.
I hadn’t heard of that but will definitely watch it! xx
Jodie | That Happy Reader says
These are lovely photos! I love nothing more then getting out into nature. My garden is putting on a lovely Spring show right now and I love to watch the changes from day to day. Thanks for sharing some great reasons to get outside!
I love taking photo’s of nature when I’m out and about, nature is really beautiful when you look hard enough! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
So true 🌼x
Sophie | Love and Literature says
Hehe, I’m looking forward to more Milo content 😉 You’re so lucky to have wonderful photography opportunities, they’re beautiful! I completely agree that nature is good for mental health, especially after the last year or so, I appreciate getting out and experiencing nature all the more! x
Thank you 🙂 x
Eleanor Jones says
Aw I love this post! Nature always positively impacts my mental health, and I used to take long walks through the woods near my house to clear my head- or when I needed some alone time. Thank you for sharing these ideas, I love the idea of growing and caring for a plant (although I don’t have the best track record with plants!) x
Love a good wood! x
Simply Alex Jean says
I love being out in nature, and you’re right it’s fantastic for your wellness and mental health! For myself, I love tending to my garden I find it very soothing, or going on hikes/walks on nature trails and just enjoying what’s around me. Nature documentaries are definitely something I haven’t thought of as a connection to nature and would be great in the winter when going outside isn’t an option. Thanks for sharing this 🙂
Love those ideas, thank you xx
Tiffany McCullough - Metaphysical Mama says
Great post! I love going for nature walks and taking tons of pictures. It always seems to lift my mood. When I don’t have the will to go out for a walk, I either hang out with my cats and dog or watch funny animal videos on YouTube. Nothing is better than animals when you’re feeling down. Thanks for sharing!
Me too! xx
bethany jones says
I find just being out in nature really improves my outlook on life and general mood as well as doing photography while I’m out and about. Great post.
Totally agree, thank you xx
Lou Farrell says
I love taking pictures of nature, and like your bees, I find the easiest, and they are also fascinating. I love it when they have their little knees covered with pollen. You can become so absorbed with nature you just live in the moment, a wonderful mental health suggestion.
So true! xx
These are all lovely suggestions, Caroline! I love nature documentaries and I grew up watching them! Moving Art is one of my favs to put on the TV on Netflix and really does make me feel a lot better! x
Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com
Thank you, I’ve never heard of Moving Art so I’ll definitely check that out x
I live in the city, so any park I come across with it’s green space, trees, and flowers I find soothing. Also painting and writing really help my mental health!
Green spaces are the best x
Charlotte Birchall says
These are all great suggestions. I love taking picture of nature but also going for walks. Thank you for sharing.
Nature gives life energy and a positive mindset. Painting is especially helpful to relax. These are great ways to improve mental health!
Painting helps me relax too 🙂