By Corinne Yeadon, of the Being Better private therapy practice in Skipton

I WAS delighted to see the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 was nature. Nature is a free resource available to us all whatever our circumstances or environment.

Connecting with nature can meet all five elements of self care; mind, body, emotional, spiritual and social, boosting mental wellbeing. There is nothing more grounding than feeling the grass or earth beneath bare feet.

Many credit wild swimming with alleviating symptoms of anxiety, it’s no coincidence the pandemic has seen a rise in popularity of this pastime.

Tai Chi movements are known to promote balance and strength, when practising outdoors there is the added value of harmonising with surroundings and being in company.

Limited mobility may prevent strenuous exercise, but sitting by a window to do chair yoga, movements or exercises provides a different experience.

Noticing everyday plant and wildlife can instil a sense of calm and a welcome distraction from life’s challenges.

Tuning senses into the sounds of nature such as birdsong can encourage awareness and appreciation of surroundings. Watching bees going about their daily business never fails to mesmerise me and untangle any head spaghetti.

We don’t need to be outdoors to experience a nature boost, house plants and pots of herbs can bring the outdoors indoors. I confess to having a horrendous track record with houseplants, but even I have managed to sustain a flowering cactus for many years.

Protecting nature by recycling, litter picking or supporting a conservation group or project can promote a sense of belonging, as well as supporting the environment.

There is always somewhere to be and something that needs doing but taking moments out of our day to appreciate what is literally under our noses can only support a more peaceful and mindful way of living.