13 May Get Off Screens and Swim Outside for Mental Health Week
- Get off Screens and Connect with Nature for Mental Health Week
- Get Out Into the Wild for Mental Health Week
- Bee the Change for Mental Health Week
- Get Off Screens and Swim Outside for Mental Health Week
- Log Off and Reconnect With Trees in Cities This Mental Health Week
The fourth in a series of articles for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 in the UK, May 10th-May 16th, spotlighting how getting off screens and getting out into nature boosts our mental health.
The Power of Nature for Mental Health
Nature is a powerful thing. From a sense of peace and a boost to our self-esteem, to improved concentration and the psychological restoration, nature can early influence our mood and help us to feel healthy. One study has even found a link between spending 20 -30 mins outside a day and increased life satisfaction overall – its a win win! That is why the focus of this Mental Health Awareness Week is getting back to nature, and we have some ideas to help you.
Getting off screens and getting outside
In a recent survey only 49% of adults could claim they had spent time outside in the last two weeks. The same study found that 89% of people believe that being in nature makes them feel better and improves their mental health. Yet still, children today spend half the amount of time playing outside that their parents did, there must have been a change.
Of course, we know that one big change has been – the advent screens. Since the advent of the smartphone our priorities have shifted, and this is especially true since the pandemic. So, as things reopen, we strongly recommend you take the time to reconnect with nature.
The power of wild swimming
Wild swimming is a great way to get back to nature this week. ‘Wild swimming’ to the uninitiated is swimming in natural water whether that be the sea, a river or even a nice lake – just not a pool! It has been proven to have many benefits: physical benefits such as reducing inflammation, posting circulation and your immune system and mental health benefits such as a release of endorphins and an increase in the ability to manage anxiety.
Having been ourselves we can tell you that the joyful feeling you get once you are in the water, no matter how cold, is unbeatable.
The Outdoor Swimming Society
The Outdoor Swimming Society is a community of wild swimmers who all share in the joy of swimming outside. You can get involved with them even if you don’t swim through their collaboration with Surfers Against Sewage to clean up a million miles of coastline, by going to an organised litter-picking session. But if you want to give wild swimming a try, you could follow their couch-to-5K swim guide and take part in the ‘longest swim on the longest day‘ campaign for this midsummer 2021.
There is so much to get involved with, and, as you start to frequent popular swimming spots across the UK you will get to meet other wild swimmers and become part of a wonderfully supportive community who are not only benefiting their own mental health but also the environment they swim in.
Support the work of The Outdoor Swimming Society and The Mental Health Foundation
This year in order to support the work of the Outdoor Swimming Society and in recognition of the nature theme of this week we want to encourage you to give wild swimming a try. If you live in London the Serpentine or Hampstead Ponds are great first steps on the journey and if you live further afield most people live near a gentle brook or even the coast. Though it can be chilly, once you have started you’ll keep going back, for the endorphin rush and the powerful connection to nature. If you want to find out more about how to support your local swimming spots check out the work of the Outdoor Swimming Society for more details. And don’t forget to check out and support the work of The Mental Health Foundation, who organise Mental Health Awareness Week too.
For more suggestions on managing your relationship with tech to benefit your mental health, take a look at our new book ‘My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open‘.