Mental Health Awareness Week Blog 1: Mental Health and Nature

A member of staff, who also volunteers and fundraises, writes about how being in nature has improved their physical and mental health after being in a major accident:

Since 2017 walking and being in nature have been a massive part of improving my mental health and wellbeing. In 2019 I was in a major accident that compromised my cervical spine, I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t know when I’d be able to walk alone without having to have someone by my side. I never knew if I would fully be able to control the movement of my neck and head again. This was a massive blow; I was anxious to know what would happen but also very low as I couldn’t remember how I had been hurt. I remember looking out the window a lot and also watching a lot of nature programmes. I wondered, when could I get back out again independently?   

Six months later I finally had some control back. I remember the first time I started slowly going out walking on my own again was just before the first lockdown last year. I was incredibly nervous. Once I started I felt empowered. Although there have been setbacks and I will always experience pain, I am generally the happiest and calmest when in green spaces where I can walk at my own space. I love to sit down in a beautiful green place when I want to rest or just take in the view. These are places I can truly practice mindfulness and just remember to be in the present moment. Any stresses or worries will be there but in that moment I can let them go. It also reminds me to take things at my own pace. I used to really rush to get to places, now I have learnt to take my time and just enjoy getting there. If there’s a day I can’t walk I will try again the next.   

In February this year I completed a walking challenge to fundraise for Mind in Bradford and after everything that had happened It really meant a lot to me that I was able to do it. It reminded me of how far I had come in both my physical and mental health journey.  

Posted on: 10th May 2021


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