This blog is written by 21 year old Ashleigh Carter, the Our Bright Future apprentice who is passionate about the environment and making positive changes for the world.
Mental health may be daunting words for some to hear but they shouldn’t be! I would like to live in a world where mental health can be widely discussed, listened to, understood and supported for all. If you have ever felt like you are struggling please know that you are not alone, talk to someone you trust, sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery – never suffer in silence.
We can all have difficult days where everything feels as though it’s all too much, on days like this I think that being outdoors surrounded by nature is so important for our mental health and wellbeing, it provides a detox, a breath of fresh air, a sense of freedom. Nature is a wonderful way for us to feel a part of a community. Local allotments, parks and green spaces are such a great way to socialise with others eliminating loneliness and increasing our happiness.
Coping with change can be hard, due to the recent pandemic a lot of people have had to change the way they live. Not being able to go out to see friends and family when we would like to has had a massive impact on our mental health especially when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I think in this situation the outdoors has been our saving grace, I can’t talk for everyone but it has definitely got me thinking about how much I love and respect nature, it makes me want to do everything in my power to protect it. I would spend time stuck at home reminiscing about time spent camping in the summer with friends and how precious this time was hopeful that in the near future we would be able to do this all over again and appreciate the nature around us so much more, lock our phones away and listen to the most relaxing sounds around us and feel all our worries drift away.
I had some great discussions with like-minded family and friends who spoke about how nature has impacted their wellbeing, here’s what they said:
“Nature has been a release for me especially during recent lockdowns, getting some fresh air and going on long walks enabled me to stay positive and motivated. There’s nothing better than being outside surrounded by nature and wildflowers!” – Saffron, aged 22
“I like being outdoors spending time with my mates exploring new places.” – Dean, aged 22
“I like to spend time in nature because it takes all my worries away, I get to spend time outdoors walking with my dog and riding through the woods on my pony, there’s nothing better than that!” – Layla, aged 15
“I love spending time outdoors, especially in the countryside, it gives me the chance to relax and spend time with my friends surrounded by nature” – Robbie, aged 22
“I enjoy spending time outside looking at the different flowers and trees, it helps to improve my mood and self-esteem.” – Morgan, aged 16
Although progress to support one another’s mental health and wellbeing has come a far way we still need improvement, we need a positive push to raise awareness for this important cause. Nature is our generations peaceful escape and we should protect it at all cost for ‘Our Bright Future!’