for those who love the outdoors

9 May, 2022

Check in on Your Mental Health This Week: Tips for a Healthy Mind

It's important that we make time for self-care, especially during Mental Health Awareness Week. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy mind.

Mental health awareness week

This is Mental Health Awareness Week, and we wanted to take a moment to check in on our mental health. It can be tough to stay on top of our mental wellbeing, especially when we're constantly bombarded with stressors from all angles. But it's important that we make time for self-care, especially during Mental Health Awareness Week. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy mind!

How can we use the outdoors to help support our mental health?

There are countless mental health benefits to spending time outside, including reducing stress, improving moods, and increasing feelings of happiness and vitality. When it comes to mental health, fresh air and sunshine can do wonders but we know it can be hard to take that first step outside, it's often the hardest part.

If you struggle to fit time in for you, make mental health your number one priority this week and see if you can change your routine. A single snapshot of exposure to nature can lift your mood for up to seven hours and can reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%!

You can read contributor Mark's honest and inspiring story about anxiety versus adventure here.

Here are some things you can do to make time:

Set a daily or weekly goal for yourself

It doesn't matter if it's walking 100 metres or cycling 100 miles, everyone will have different goals so make it achievable and account for your work or life calendar for the week ahead. If you have a diary packed full of meetings and are struggling to find the time to fit in some time outside, what about walking between meetings instead of taking the tube? What about getting off at one bus stop earlier and walking the extra 10 minutes home at the end of the day? The sunrises are beautiful at this time of year... what about marking one day in your diary for an early start and feel the sun on your face rising over your favourite trails or national park?

Make a list of activities that make you happy and try to do one every day

We love the outdoors because it doesn't really matter how you enjoy it. You could enjoy hiking, walking, running, camping, climbing or it could be crafting with leaves, building dens with the kids... the list of outdoor activities is literally endless. So why not make a list of outdoors activities that really makes you happy and see if you can fill your week with amazing things. Here's a few suggestions to get you started:

  • it's the perfect time of year to build daisy chains in the sunshine
  • run a different route, explore somewhere new
  • watch the sunrise (with your favourite cup of brew)
  • play tourist in your own town - explore what's near you
  • plan a picnic with a friend
  • volunteer at parkrun - it's a great start to a Saturday morning
  • try bouldering (read our top tips for how to get started here)
  • read your favourite book in a field of wild flowers
  • try open water swimming (top tips here)

Schedule mental health days into your calendar

It's important to add that time into your diary because it's all too easy for mental health days to become "catch up on errands" days. Make sure you respect your mental health day and use it as a chance to do things that are just for you.

Do meetings get scheduled in your work diary? Do kids activities fill up your calendar? What about you time? Put that time in your diary so everyone knows that it's time for you - whether it's one day a week or one day a month, make sure you have at least one mental health day in your diary where you can do things that make you happy and relax.

Click here for some great ideas of walks that you could schedule in in Keswick, Devon and the Peak District National Park.

Find a Pal to Get Outside With

Studies have shown that those who exercise with a friend are more likely to stick to it, so if you're someone who struggles to get outside on your own, find a pal.

If you can't think of anyone off the top of your head or you're worried about approaching friends and family, there are loads community groups all around the country that will welcome you with open arms to join their local meetups for pretty much any and every activity. Facebook is a great place to start as if you suffer with things like anxiety, you can see the other sorts of people that are in the group and what they typically get up to, to help put your mind at ease.

Share your top tips for how you help support your own mental health. Tag us on Instagram with your story @beoutsidebeactive

If you need support with your mental health.

Talk to Mind who provide mental health support and information. For more information or contact numbers, click here.

Please remember, if you are struggling with your mental health and feel like you need urgent support, please call NHS 111 or in a emergency dial 999.

Outside & Active

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Outside & Active is the home for those who love the outdoors. Our mission is to inspire, inform and educate people about being active outdoors in a fun, safe and sustainable way. We provide inspiration, kit, tech and advice on adventure, camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, running water and winter.

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