After the year we’ve had, it’d be some sort of miracle if you hadn’t thought about your mental health and the ups and downs that come with it. We have seen an increase in mental health conditions over the past year, with 60% of UK adults reporting that their mental health has declined during this time.
So this Mental Health Awareness Week, paying worthy attention to our wellbeing and that of those around us, we caught up with our Natives to see what mental health means to them and how nature - the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week - plays a pivotal role in managing and navigating the minefield inside our heads.
Here’s what our Natives had to say:
“Soon into the pandemic I realised we were all spending hour after hour on back to back Zoom meetings. That’s not ideal for anyone’s mental wellbeing. So my team took our regular weekly catch-ups outside, to a park in between our homes. We had the same conversations without the screens, and we got some exercise and fresh air while doing it. It really kept us going.”
- Nicola Jones, Comms and Events Manager
“Kayaking and nature provide tranquillity and calm in an otherwise busy world. I find it is an escape from the stresses in life and gives me a chance to breathe and slow down.”
- Katherine Midwinter, Junior Data Analyst
“Having the Downs on my doorstep has been such a help during the pandemic. When life felt a bit claustrophobic, the Downs provided the perfect escape. Now the evenings are longer, we have been going for walks after work. It's such a peaceful time, watching the moon rise and the birds settle in the trees to roost. Walking in nature is definitely good for the soul.”
- Tilly Howarth, Campaigns, Marketing and Events Executive
“I run to get out of my head and find the perspective to work through whatever is going on in there at that moment. People often say to me “how do you enjoy running enough to keep on doing it?” and to be honest, nine out of 10 times I absolutely don’t want to go for that run. But you never regret a run. So I switch on autopilot.
In other words: if you’re waiting for your brain to tell you to run every morning because you absolutely love it, it’s not going to happen. But you should get out there anyway. Like I said, you’ll never regret it.”
- Ellie Davidson, Senior Marketing Exec
Nature plays such an important role in my mental health and wellbeing. Being able to walk and run along the beach, especially during lockdown, has allowed me to take a step back, reflect and escape the stresses and strains of everyday life. It's definitely kept me going over the last year.
- Dan Hulin, Demand Generation Team Lead
“Exploring nature with my family helps me realise what's important in life. Chatting to Isaac whilst walking (or running!) through woods and parks makes me realise how much of the environment I often fail to see when rushing through daily life.”
- Lizzie Wilding-Clark - Akero Advertising Digital Consultant
One in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England. It’s an issue that doesn’t discriminate against anyone, so it’s critical to check in on yourself as well as others around you. Asking how someone is, really listening and just being there can really help.
If you’d like to donate to a charity which helps fight against mental illness stigma and support mental health then you can do so here: Mind and Mental Health Foundation. And if you’re still reading, this is your sign to take a break, close that laptop of yours, and get outside. Your mind will thank you.