It’s Mental Health Awareness Week — an annual event that focuses on celebrating good mental health for everyone, everywhere, no matter your age, ability or location. This year’s theme is nature because a deeper connection to the natural landscapes around us is central to supporting health and happiness. From simply taking a walk, to planting some herbs and getting creative in the garden — there are plenty of free ways to build a better connection with nature, which will bring you joy.
From local community gardening to online learning resources — we’ve collected a handful of useful podcasts, things to do and groups to get involved with to help your mental health blossom as we step into Summer.
Appreciate local nature
Sefton is home to plenty of natural delights, from Rimrose Valley to Crosby Beach. Why not take a walk through Rimrose whilst the weather is nice, or a stroll down the canal, or even just the local park. It’s amazing what some fresh air and sunlight on your face can do to lift your mood and make a bad day a bit brighter.
Take a moment to pause and notice what you can hear or see whilst you are out — we like Sefton In Mind’s suggestion of looking for plants growing in unusual places, like cracks on the street — see here.
Join a community gardening group
In Bootle and Crosby, we are very lucky to be home to a handful of fantastic gardening collectives and community groups, who care about making our local green spaces beautiful places to meet and connect with each other. If you fancy getting into gardening, join in with some volunteering and learn from lovely people in your local community.
Just a few we can think of include: The Gateway Collective, Friends of South Park, Taking Root in Bootle, Friends of Rimrose Valley, Friends of Waterloo Seafront Gardens, Netherton Community Garden, or Ford Lane Garden.
Join Bootle Mappers
‘Maps are only an excuse for the journey they set us on.’
Follow Bootle Mappers on Facebook and join a community of local explores in Bootle. We’ve been setting live treasure hunt and mapping activities exploring nature, wildlife and connected people in Derby and Linacre. Lately, we’ve been creating routes around our local green spaces based on good places to sit and watch the world go by.
Try Freshly Cut Grass
We know that sometimes it’s hard to go outside and access nature if it’s far away and you can’t go very far — but not to worry, Frances Disley has created a series of calming imaginary journeys out in nature, for you to enjoy without stepping a foot out of the house. She’s created a different version — one best for relaxing in the morning, afternoon, or night. A short quiz takes you to the journey which is best suited for you — try it out here.
Land in our Names – podcasts and videos
Reimagine structure of land stewardship, Land in our Names is an inspiring grassroots Black-led collective committed to connecting land and climate justice with racial justice in the UK. They have a number of resources, including videos and podcasts, about our relationship to the land, climate change, farming and activism.
You can watch a video from home, or even listen to a podcast whilst out on a walk, and get motivated to spark change in your local neighbourhood. Listen or watch here.
Set up after the first lockdown rekindled their love for nature, Get Birding is a podcast to help everyone, anywhere, discover more about the birds on their doorsteps. Listen to their podcasts for tips on spotting different types of local birds — their top tip: start looking up!
Forage for Dandelions….and make Fritters
This time last year, artist Rachel Pimm joined us online for Chopping Club. We encouraged participants to head outdoors and forage for dandelions, before using them to cook a fantastically sugary dandelion fritter recipe — the perfect sweet treat for a Friday night.
You can find the recipe here.
Library books about nature to borrow
There are lots of fantastic books exploring all the wondrous aspects of nature, which you can borrow from your local Library. Just a few that come to mind are:
We’d love to know what you get up to on your trips out in nature during Mental Health Awareness Week, or the different ways you use nature to relax and unwind. We’d love to see pictures of things you found whilst you were out, or hear if you learnt anything new, and have a great idea for a local nature project, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org