Posted on: 10 May 2021
Mental Health Awareness Week starts today (10 May 2021) and runs for the rest of the week.
Research shows that spending time in nature, and outdoor forms of mental health support are beneficial to people’s mental wellbeing. They can help depression and anxiety, as well as relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and boost self confidence and self esteem.
Laura Knight, CNWL Dramatherapist suggests combining nature with arts this Mental Health Awareness Week:
Nature is a key to the inspiration of the arts in many forms and is used specifically in some models of therapeutic work as a helpful structure such as the “Tree of Life”.
David Attenborough suggest 30 minutes outside to connect with nature every day, and whilst we might not have the Serengeti (a region in Africa) on our doorstep we know nature finds ways to thrive in the most urban of areas!
You can combine nature with arts in many ways.
Create a piece of art using nature
Grab some leaves, sticks and stones and see what emerges
Here are some examples of pieces of art inspired by nature created by Andy Goldworth, an artist.
Listen to nature's music
Take the opportunity to listen to nature's music, what can you hear or notice? It may take a few minutes to hear beyond the urban sounds but what else can you hear? it might be the trees, a bird or flowing water. Is there a rhythm? Does it remind you of other places you’ve been?
What music do you listen to that reminds you of nature? A song might remind you of a place or a feeling, for example. Are there sounds you miss from nature that might be soothing, that you can listen to?
Sketch an element from nature on paper, such as a leaf, and take the time to notice the intricate details that we'd usually miss in our daily lives. If you're not into sketching, use your phone to capture images in nature you find pleasant that you can look back on whenever you're stressed or finding it difficult to relax.
Touch and feel
Take time to notice different textures within nature. If it's safe to do so, reach up to touch a branch or down to feel the grass or flower petals to appreciate the variety in nature.
If you do not find any particular enjoyment in drawing consider expressing your thoughts, emotions and feelings about being out in nature in written form using a poem.
Please let us know what you’ve been inspired to do and share it with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.