Connecting with the natural world by going for a walk, a run or even just being sat on a bench somewhere has been known to benefit our mental health in a big way. Over the past 100 years we’ve separated ourselves from nature due to a change in lifestyle, a surge in technology pulling us apart from the beauty of the outdoors.
Over the course of the pandemic we’ve strengthened that bond again, with a 45% increase in those talking a walk or getting outside in some way. Prolonged periods at home has made us realise that the outdoors is more important than we give credit for, and interacting with nature is one of the best therapies for nurturing our mental health.
Nature is enchanting to us all and brings out the child-like curiosity deep within us, the different cycles of the year shaping our moods as spring turns to summer, with the sun flexing its rays to give us a hope of new life. No wonder that one of the hardest parts of lockdown was during the cold winter months.
For a lot of us, re-planning our garden and planting bulbs during winter are massively important to our mental health. Some of us on the other hand like seeing bees emerging over the warmer months, with blossom appearing on trees and swathes of bluebells everywhere.
Getting outdoors into nature is good for you for a number of reasons.
Getting outdoors reduces feelings of stress and anxiety and can even benefit your confidence and self-esteem. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
The NHS have even prescribed angling to reduce stress, which tells us even more that being out in nature and outdoors is calming, as well as being very good for our well-being.
There are a lot of similarities to whole school well-being culture and a plant that we nurture from a seed up until its full blossom. By uniting as a school and working under the same core principles and culture, we can start to grow the plant to its fullest potential. The seed can’t grow if we don’t tend to it and prevent it from coming to harm. Everyone needs to come together and contribute to nurturing it.
Well-being isn’t just the head teacher’s responsibility but rather all members of staff, and requires everyone to look after each other. If the plant starts to dry, then staff members need to come together and water it.
NAHT Wellness and Protect is a staff absence protection with complimentary whole school well-being and leadership support. Learn about all of the benefits of NAHT Wellness and Protect for your school here.
Alternatively, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 3030 892 (open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday).