20th May 2020
Mental Health Awareness Week seems more important than ever this year as more of us are living through testing times. At the Land Trust we want to help by talking about mental health, and sharing ideas on how to help look after each other and ourselves.
The rise in mental health concerns across the globe was recognised by the World Health Organisation early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, with briefing notes and infographics being made available, however, many people prefer more practical and personal advice.
One of the Land Trust’s five charitable aims is health and wellbeing, and we know that at the moment not as many people are benefiting from spending time in our green spaces and taking part in events and volunteering activities.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get out for some exercise at least once a day since this started, which for many people has made a huge difference to their lockdown experience. There’s plenty of small things you can do on a regular basis to help improve your own mental health, and of those who you care about.
Obviously, the first thing we’re going to suggest is spending time in green space. We blab on about the benefits every day, but they’re now more noticeable than ever, and more people are really starting to see the value of having somewhere green nearby. Just 20 minutes spent outdoors can boost your mood, alleviating symptoms of depression.
Even if you don’t know whether there’s any parks or beauty hot spots near you, have a little google, maybe look on maps to see if you can spot some green space and take a stroll over. Alternatively, why not just see where the wind takes you? An adventure is always fun, and if nothing else, it may be a welcome change of scenery. You never know what you might discover.
Here’s a link to a map of our sites. Don’t forget you can now travel a bit further to get your daily exercise in England, meaning we’ve opened up most of our car parks again so you can get back to enjoying the nature our sites offer. Don’t forget to keep your distance though – here’s a guide to walking during the restrictions.
If walking isn’t your thing, fear not! There’s plenty to do which could help you feel happier and less anxious.
While the weather’s nice, why not get into a good book while sitting in the fresh air? Slap on some sun cream, get your flip flops on and it’ll be like being on holiday…ish. You are now allowed to spend a bit of time in parks without exercising in England. As long as you only go within two metres of those who you live with and don’t leave a mess, it’s completely fine. Picnics, bike rides and quick kick abouts: go for it. It could be the little slice of normality you need.
On a serious note, keeping busy and taking your mind off your worries is a really important thing to do. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone in this, and this situation won’t last forever. You’re doing great.
Since lockdown began, calls to mental health charities have sky rocketed, with more people feeling as if there’s no one to turn to and that there’s no way out. Although you might be struggling yourself, checking in on other people can help both them and yourself out.
Even if you don’t feel like talking, why not send someone a message asking if they’re OK, or give them a call or video call? Not only will it probably make their day, it might just make yours too. You might find that once you get talking to someone you really benefit from it.
There’s far more things you can do at the moment to help you feel a bit more like yourself. Here’s a few to help you get on track:
If you’re interested in getting stuck in with a new hobby post-lockdown, please feel free to get in touch. We run volunteering sessions on many of our sites, as well as regular guided walks, health activities and community events.
Even if you just want to ask about our sites or know where your nearest is. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer.
We’re not experts on mental health, but the advice we’re giving is based on advice from professional resources, such as the NHS and Mind Charity. If you feel you need to speak to someone and don’t know where to turn, please consider visiting this page.
For some children it's probably their first encounter with wildlife, so for them it's a really good educational place.
Emily, Site Ranger, Bentley Community Woodland
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