Leading UK charities join forces to boost the nation’s mental health during lockdown
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Published: 9 April 2020
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
A coalition of leading nature, environment and mental health organisations has launched a campaign to help people connect with nature and boost their mental health during lockdown.
‘A large number of scientific studies show that experience of nature can improve health and wellbeing, and especially recovery from everyday stress and fatigue.
‘The current restrictions to movements outside the home mean it’s not as easy to visit our favourite parks and woodlands, but there are ways to connect with nature even from the safety of indoors. Just listening to birdsong from the window, or looking at a tree in the distance, can help people to feel happier and more relaxed.’
DR ELEANOR RATCLIFFE
Lecturer in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey
A daily dose of nature
The premise of the #VitaminN campaign is simple: we all need a daily dose of nature to keep us healthy, and it’s even more important while we are housebound.
With the Easter bank holiday weekend on the horizon, and people longing to be outdoors in the fresh air, the campaign highlights easy, fun ways to connect with nature from the comfort of your own home – even if it’s through a window.
‘Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives. Its impact on our health and wellbeing is well proven – with regular contact known to reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Our bodies are meant to be active – and we’re meant to spend time connecting with nature! But, with the government’s important advice at the moment to stay at home and restrict travel, it can be challenging to maintain this, at the risk of our wellbeing.
‘That’s why we’ve come together with our partners to highlight easy, fun and unusual ways for us all to connect with nature and the wildlife on our doorstep. Whilst many people are likely to feel a bit stuck at home there are opportunities to make space for nature – whether it’s stopping for a moment to look out of the window and take notice of what’s around, watching wildlife activity on webcams or having some fun with daily indoor nature-themed challenges.
‘We’d love everyone to join us in rejoicing in our everyday wildlife – and help us to reach other people in their community who might benefit too!’
CEO of The Wildlife Trusts
The charities – including RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, the Wilderness Foundation, Nature Friendly Farming Network, The Climate Coalition and Mental Health Collective – have come together to provide over 100 activities, which will be released over the next three weeks.
Campaign activities include the RSPB’s birdsong radio, the Wilderness Foundation’s Badger Cam and an Easter-themed nature hunt from Jordans Cereals.
Follow #VitaminN on social media to get your daily dose of inspiration from nature.
Top 5 #VitaminN Easter activities
1. Early bird
Take part in RSPB’s #BreakfastBirdwatch for a moment of calm before you start the day.
2. Spring scavenger hunt
Set the family an Easter challenge to fill empty egg cartons with a host of natural treasures.
3. Grow your own
You don’t need a garden to grow your own veggies, just some seeds and a shallow tray.
4. Build a bug hotel Celebrate the invertebrates by creating a creepy-crawly community centre on your doorstep.
5. Nature yoga
Learn a range of wildlife themed yoga poses, such as the frog and the heron.