Nature is key during Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week will be held from Monday 9th to Sunday 15th October 2017.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017: Naure is key.The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 is Nature is Key: Unlock your wellbeing. There are simple things we can all do that will make a huge difference to the mental health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Research has shown that spending time in nature is great for mental and physical health. Spending time in nature:

  • makes us feel happier and more optimistic.
  • restores us when we’re feeling run-down.
  • reduces stress.
  • improves concentration.
  • improves life satisfaction.

This year the Mental Health Foundation encourages Kiwis from all walks of life to stop thinking of nature as something locked away in national parks and forests but as the daisies in the berm, the tree outside the window and the vast, beautiful sky above. Here are some suggestions…

Connect with nature

  • Go barefoot and feel the grass or sand beneath your feet.
  • Cloud gaze. Notice the shapes and how quickly the sky moves around you.
  • Walk in nature with a friend.
  • Bird watching.
  • Take a photo or find a nature photo online and make it your computer background.
  • Organise a picnic for your class, workmates or family in a local park.

Give back to nature

Take notice and be mindful of the natural environment

  • Watch the night sky. Learn what phase the moon is in and the stars and constellations you can see.
  • Go somewhere you have been meaning to visit in your local area
  • Explore a square of earth in the garden with a magnifying glass
  • Go for a bush walk and take your time as you take photographs
  • Create a photo diary of a favourite place, plant, animal or tree
  • Make a sundial and learn how to use it to tell time.

Keep learning and discovering about nature

  • Learn about the plants in your backyard and if any are edible or can used for medicinal purpose
  • Take a trip to the zoo and find about the animals and their habitats
  • Try to identify the different animals and plants you can see or hear when on a bush walk.
  • Do a handy backyard treasure hunt.
  • Create a worm farm in your backyard.
  • Volunteer for a nature-related charity to learn new skills.

Be active in nature

  • Climb your local mountain/maunga or swim in your local river/awa or sea/moana
  • Go for walk as a family after dinner or on the weekend. Take turns choosing the route or where to go.
  • Start a walking school bus for kids in your area
  • Design a treasure hunt or fun challenges to get to a mystery natural location for your friends, family or workmates.

Get more information about Mental Health Awareness Week, including how to order resources.

Source: Mental Health Awareness Week website.

Published on Monday, September 11th, 2017, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 16/10/2017

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