BLOG: Mental Health Awareness Week - how we can help

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.

 

Communities enjoy our green spaces

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:

  • Try to get enough sleep. Turning off the tech at night and forcing yourself out of bed in the morning (even when you don’t want to) can really help with this as it encourages a healthy sleeping pattern. There’s something special about hearing the dawn birdsong too – peaceful and beautiful.
  • Add a bit of nature to your home. You can buy seeds, flowers and plants online or in the supermarkets which can be grown in your home or in the garden. Many people find joy in looking after a plant and watching it grow.
  • Be kind to yourself. This isn’t easy. If you’re feeling low, you’re not alone and there are ways to help it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself: no one’s perfect. Remember not to compare yourself to anyone else as everyone has their own struggles and different ways of showing that. Things will get better. Think about what you’re going do when we get back to some sort of normality.
  • Try something new every day. Our Green Angels team have created a weekly email to help you keep busy every day, whilst still keeping in touch with nature. If you’d like to receive these emails, click here.

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 enquiries@thelandtrust.org.uk and we’ll do our best to answer.

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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.


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The Land Trust Blog on mental health

Working with The Land Trust and Groundwork has been a great success for all of us at Sherburn who took part. They were a brilliant team and had great knowledge about the local wildlife.

AB Agri Corporate Volunteer at Fryston

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