This week on the podcast, we spoke about the power of getting outside. I know it can be hard. But we need to try and get out more for our mental health. Many of us are turning towards natural remedies to help with our well-being. One such natural remedy is ‘green care’, a term used to describe nature-based interventions such as spending more time outdoors in contact with nature. There is growing evidence to suggest that spending time outdoors in contact with nature can improve a person’s mental health and physical wellbeing, so here are 4 outdoor activities you may wish to try to give yourself or someone you know suffering from a mental illness some green care.
If you have a garden at your home then you may have access to some green care just outside your front door. Spending time in the garden has been proven to reduce people’s stress levels and the action of gardening itself can be very relaxing and calming. If you’re new to gardening why not start by simply tending to your garden area and removing any weeds, this will clear you up some space to start planting new plants and sowing new seeds. You can even practice gardening in a very small outdoor space by growing plants and vegetables in containers which can be placed on a patio, driveway or windowsill, and to make gardening more accessible all year round why not consider purchasing a little greenhouse to keep both you and your plants a little warmer this winter.
Connecting with the natural world is an important part of green therapy so why not make a home for nature at your home by planting wildflower seeds for bees or trying to build Bird Boxes to help nesting birds this coming spring? If you have a larger garden space you may also want to try building a small natural pond to attract newts, frogs and dragonflies or building a bug hotel out of some old wood or logs.
Getting outdoors and surrounding yourself in nature is one proven way to help your mental health and exercise is another, so by combining them, you create a great mood-boosting cocktail. The easiest way to get outside and exercise is by simply putting one foot in front of the other and going for a hike or a walk in the great outdoors. Even if you live in a built-up city area going for a walk around the block is better than nothing at all though do try to find some green open space to feel the maximum benefits of green care.
Of course, there are also many other forms of sport that can help you combine the great outdoors with exercise, such as rock climbing. Rock climbing is a great sport to consider as it promotes teamwork and will introduce you to new people and is also something a little different meaning that it often doesn’t feel like exercise at all. If heights don’t appeal to you then why not try rock climbings sister sport, bouldering, which takes place on much lower rocks called boulder but is still an outdoor sport which often takes place with fellow climbers and friends.
Whatever you enjoy, just get outside when you can. On that note, it’s a lovely, crisp winter morning so we are off to wrap up and have a nice walk.