The 2021 Mental Health Awareness Week took place in May, with the theme Connect with Nature, the week was dedicated to how nature has a positive effect on our mental health.
With the seemingly never-ending pandemic and lockdown restrictions this past year, we have all become increasingly familiar with the four walls of our homes. Our technology and screen use has risen, we may be feeling more isolated and lonelier than before, and with everything being closed for long periods of time, the only way to get a change of scenery has been to venture outside.
According to a study by The Mental Health Foundation, going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health throughout the pandemic.
As the writer of this blog post, I can confirm that those “daily stupid walks” became my number one coping mechanism throughout the pandemic. You may relate to how it helped to get outside for some fresh air to clear your head when things felt a tad too much to deal with. If that meant walking around the block or finding the nearest park, sitting in the garden for a bit if you were lucky to have one, or simply going outside your front door to catch some fresh air.
Now that things have slowly opened back up in the UK, you may have found the daily walks to be taking a back seat. However, nature still has an incredibly positive effect on our well-being! That is why, for Mental Health Awareness Week, the Emu Team decided to encourage ourselves and each other to prioritise nature, either by going for a walk, getting on the bicycle, or simply enjoying nature from a park bench.
As we love a good map, we decided to document our ventures outside and created a map in our LINE solution, to help encourage others, even after the Mental Health Awareness week comes to an end, to still prioritise spending time outside in nature!
The map also shows green space, nature reserves and national parks as we know that sometimes the park just isn’t enough, and we want to go out into the wild.