The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is Connecting with Nature.
Nature is central to our psychological and emotional health. It’s almost impossible to realise good mental health without a connection to the natural world. For most of human history, we lived as part of nature. It is only in the last five generations that so many of us have lived and worked in a context that is largely separated from nature.
I recently moved to the beautiful village of Gainford in County Durham. One of the motivations for coming here is that the River Tees runs through the village. It’s a stretch of river with many moods, there’s a pebble beach with the river serenely passing by, and faster babbling sections with a satisfying roar of water. As soon as I get within ear shot of the river something in me just releases and calms. It is the most wonderful stilling tonic, whatever my mood.
My move has offered another way to connect with nature, in planning and planting my new garden. It is a process that has included tonnes and tonnes of concrete and gravel being taken away and seemingly endless digging, but there is something viscerally energising about having my hands in the earth and creating a space to attract nature - bees, butterflies, birds. It is so restorative to tend plants.
‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’ - Aristotle
This mental health awareness week, please share your stories of connecting with nature and how it impacts you.