Nature is awesome. Not only does it give us peace, beauty and space, it offers us an awareness of something much bigger than ourselves. Whether it’s a beautiful reedbed, a gently meandering river, huge open skies or the first catkins on a willow tree, nature offers an escape from everyday pressures and demands.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is nature, so at WWT wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the healing power of wetlands for our mental health and wellbeing. Following on from the success of our Autumn and Winter Wellbeing Guide, we worked with our Blue Prescriptions partners the Mental Health Foundation to produce our Spring and Summer edition.
Evidence suggests there are five steps to wellbeing, as defined by the NHS as:
But it’s not just simply being in nature that can help us feel better – the deeper our connection, the more we feel alive and part of something bigger. And this is not restricted to being able to name every bird you hear or plant you see, although this can also fit with the ways to wellbeing outlined above. The most important thing is being intentional as you interact with nature, and approaching it as an experience rather than simply a means to an end.
It turns out that it is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts.
– Mark Rowland, Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive
Our free guide explores some of the ways that nature can help keep us healthy. It’s full of ideas and activities you can do with your family, friends or by yourself. They are intended to help you engage with nature following the five steps to wellbeing, and make the most of what wetlands have to offer.
Whether it’s listening to sand martins flitting over the water, watching bats scoop up insects in the blink of an eye, or spotting swathes of marsh marigold and common water crowfoot popping up, spring in wetlands is a special time. To help you make the most of the season, here’s a quick tour of unmissable spring wildlife sights to see in wetlands.
We’d love to hear your stories about your favourite wetland nature experiences that have lifted your spirits, so we can spread the word and inspire others. You can share with the WWT community on social media using the #wetlandwellbeing, or send your reminisces through to firstname.lastname@example.org