A time to breathe
As mental health awareness week comes to an end, Sarah reflects on the importance of connecting with nature and allowing ourselves to breathe.
This Monday was the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. This year the theme is nature, as many studies have shown spending time outside is good for our mental health. This can be in the countryside or a city park, depending on where you live. Near a lake, or a canal, a river, a garden anywhere really that is close to plants and wildlife. All these places have a positive effect on how we feel.
Now, I can vouch for this from years of personal experience. My summers, since childhood, have been spent camping. My eldest daughter was 11 months when she first came with us on a camping holiday and that was 28 years ago, and nothing has changed.
When we load up our car, with all our kit, I know that this is the one time I’m going to slow down, to switch off and truly relax and unwind. I have never really connected the fact that spending time ‘in nature’ was perhaps a major factor in feeling this way. The peace I feel outside my tent is a feeling I have never found anywhere else.
Peace and reassurance can be found in many different places. I was reading some of the stories written by people who have used and worked in our Crisis Café at Choice Support, which is called Sanctuary by the Sea. Crisis Cafés, just in case you do not know, are a safe, welcoming place where people who are experiencing mental health issues can go, usually outside of normal working hours, if they urgently need support. Sanctuary by the Sea lives up to its name as a place where people come for support. It is a place where they are able to build relationships based on trust because people are listened to and they are not judged for their life choices. Our Crisis Café supports people to navigate the often-complex world of health and in some cases the criminal justice system. It helps people to look forward and create a positive future with the right support.
So, if you can get outside and connect with nature this weekend, please do, and see if it helps you find some peace and relaxation.