Nature and Wellbeing Blog

Deep Breaths

By Jenna Booth, Inspire.

Nature not only inspires us but also supports our mental and emotional wellbeing, reduces anxiety and helps us deal with challenges in life that we all face. We’ve all been guilty of not being ‘present in the moment’ thanks to social media, gadgets and digital interruptions but getting into nature helps us de-stress, focus and put things into perspective.

Everyone is different, and we will all take different things from the natural world around us, but even something as simple as going for a walk provides us with fresh air and a change of scenery. Equally, if you live in the city and can’t access green space or are anxious about leaving your home during these current circumstances, sitting somewhere quiet and admiring a view allows us to experience calming, positive feelings.

It’s easy to engage with the spaces around us and of course it’s also important that we follow current guidelines on social distancing.

Here’s some handy tips:

Take a walk.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy nature, going for a stroll allows us space to think while also getting some gentle exercise. Northern Ireland boasts a range of country parks that are perfect for walking and exploring. You don’t always need to hit the countryside to find a great walk – our towns and cities are full of green spaces and iconic landmarks that are great to discover on two feet. Click here for a great list of hidden gems in NI

Mental health and Wellbeing
Running shoes

Exercise outside.

Go jogging along the coast. Book a spot on the community tennis court. Train or do yoga in the local park. We can make time for ourselves and do these things solo, or we could look into local groups, such as a running club, and make new connections in the process, as well as raising fitness and confidence levels.

Socialise outdoors.

Go for a picnic in the park or, where it’s allowed, get together with family (don’t forget to collect any litter). If there’s a free concert or festival in the local green space, drop in to check it out adhering to social distancing regulations. Even spending a few hours sitting on the grass with friends frees us from the stresses of daily life. 

Family time
Single use plastic

Help with conservation.

Volunteer for a local project – check on schemes in your area – or take on your own task, like building a bird or hedgehog house, growing plants or flowers on your window sill if you live in an apartment. Creating something to benefit the ecosystem around us is a fulfilling venture that builds confidence, self-worth and focuses on a positive outcome.

Take in the world.

Appreciate how your senses respond to the elements of nature around us. There are things to smell, taste, touch, hear and see, all of which centre our thoughts on the simple, natural environment in which we exist. Grab five minutes out of your day, go outside and concentrate on the world. If you are anxious about leaving your home, you can open the window and let the fresh air in or arrange a comfortable space to sit and look out over a natural view or the skies.

Mental health and Wellbeing

Whatever you do, however you do it, being outside can, and will, do you a great deal of good. It’s easy to get out into the fresh air.

Inspire works together with people living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions to ensure they live with dignity and realise their full potential.

Check out ‘Change Your Mind’ – Northern Ireland’s regional campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health: https://www.changeyourmindni.org/

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