Thankfully, there is so much more understanding around mental health, the ways we can take care of our own and support one another. This month marks the annual Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10th-16th), so why not take some time to boost your own wellbeing, check in with other people around you or consider ways to help organizations that do vital work in this field.
Spending time outdoors has been found to offer huge health benefits, including enhancing your mood, improving short-term memory, reduce stress and anxiety, and helping cognition. Experts suggest that just 20-30 minutes outside can reduce cortisol levels in your body, which lessens the amount of stress and muscle tension you may be feeling. It can lift your mood, easing anxiety or depression, and immersing yourself in nature of just sitting quietly in a green space can help you relax and tune back into yourself, without all the usual stimuli of the modern world. With the weather on the up now, the sunshine will certainly give your serotonin levels a boost, so it’s a win/win.
- Head out for a walk or hike
- Do some gardening
- Do your usual workout outside
- Practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga in an open space
- Have a picnic in your local park
- Go for a bike ride
- Take time to sit quietly in your garden or another green space
Do something for others
There’s nothing like taking your mind off your own problems and anxieties by helping someone else. In fact, the rush of endorphins you get from the reward/pleasure center in your brain when you help other people is guaranteed to make you feel happier, whilst also making a positive impact on someone else’s life.
- Help your local community – think about your skillset and consider volunteering at your local food bank, animal shelter, nursing home, library, or join a local park/beach/river clean-up.
- Check in on someone you care about – try IDONTMIND’s Just Checking In questions to try and get the conversation flowing about mental health
- Join a community gardening initiative – reap the health benefits of gardening and getting outdoors but do it for and with others as part of a group project; improving your local area or helping to nurture fruit and vegetables in a community allotment.
- Volunteer for a mental health charity – if your particular focus is giving a helping hand to charities that support people with mental health issues.
Make a difference
A major anxiety for many people is the climate crisis. Media outlets have coined the phrase eco-anxiety, and some experts widely discuss the impact global warming, pollution, traffic noise, poor air quality and diets that are high in ultra-processed foods can have on people’s health and mental wellbeing. If the emergency this planet is facing is stressing you out, then try to be pro-active and make positive changes in your life, whilst supporting organizations that are endeavoring to make a difference.
- Think about what you consume – supermarkets are overflowing with highly-processed foods, single-use plastic, and unsustainably-sourced produce, so make smarter choices about what you buy and even what you eat, in order to reduce waste and boost your own health.
- Support positive change – seek out companies and organizations that are actively solving environmental or social issues. Reading positive stories and seeing businesses breaking down barriers and effecting real change should also help you feel a little less despair, even if only temporarily.
- Do your bit – lend your voice to charities and groups that are battling climate change and pressuring governing bodies to make the changes needed.
LifestyleGarden® places sustainability and the planet at the heart of everything it does. To produce Teak and Hardwood furniture, we only use FSC™- certified Teak, grown in responsibly managed plantations or sourced and recycled from components and structures. For us, providing sustainability in outdoor living isn't just about offering high-quality and durable products, it's also about the creation process that create positive impact towards the environment.