With one in three adults feeling overly anxious during the pandemic, Stress Awareness Month will certainly be widely acknowledged across the UK this year. From 1st – 30th April health care professionals and experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about the causes and cures to stresses brought on by the pandemic and day to day life. This month you might hear many of the experts discussing Ecotherapy as an approach to tackle stress and a way to reset the mind and body. With a tough year behind us, we look forward and encourage people to embrace the great outdoors and take in a big dose of Ecotherapy!
So, what is it and how can it help? Ecotherapy is a type of therapeutic treatment that involves taking part in outdoor activities within nature. Often taking place in group settings, it can be working on a farm, conservation activities or simply walking in a park – it is about getting people out and about and engaging within community activity. An ideal method for those who enjoy being a social butterfly or for those who simply enjoy admiring the colourful insects themselves.
The idea of the practice is to focus energy on the activity itself and appreciate the space that you are in while doing it. Not only does Ecotherapy offer an abundance of benefits such as increasing, mindfulness and reduce the feeling of loneliness, it provides opportunities to socialise, giving another reason for its use as a mental health medicine.
Here are some ways to try it out for yourself:
- Community gardening – There are many gardening and wildlife volunteer groups to get involved with that give participants the opportunity to learn about shrubs, trees, and animals as well as meeting new people along the way.
- Park wandering –For those who live within a city and wonder how to embrace Ecotherapy, well fear not – park wandering is also the perfect prescription from health care professionals. Parks and pursuing activities within them is all part of the practice.
- Yoga and meditation – It is known that yoga and meditation has its benefits but doing your practice in the outdoors releases even more natural mood boosters while connecting with nature, which allows the feeling of being carefree, open and happier.
- Forest bathing – No swimsuit required! If you haven’t already, check out the forest bathing blog with details on how to be at one with nature while ambling through the woods.
For some extra top-tips and online programmes here are a few Ecotherapy programmes available:
- Mind – Mind is a mental health charity, and the website gives tips and ideas to try, along with Ecotherapy group organisations to sign up to.
- NHS – The NHS has some great resources on Stress Awareness Month with tips on what to do if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Evergreen app – Take control of your wellness by downloading the Evergreen Life app. It is a personal hub that records your mood, sets meditations reminders, and directs to a healthier lifestyle.
So, whether you try these techniques on your own or as part of a group, we recommended you give Ecotherapy a go this April and join in the conversation about Stress Awareness Month. Not only is this therapy super accessible to everyone, but it is also a great chance to absorb mother nature this spring. Join in the conversation and help to bring positivity and mindfulness to your everyday life.