The Sheffield branch of mental health charity Mind has provided tips on how to improve your mental health during lockdown.
As Coronavirus case numbers fall, and the number of vaccinated people rises, people are generally more optimistic that life will return to normality by the summer, but some may still need support in the intervening months, and beyond.
Sheffield Mind has offered the following ideas for getting nature into your life, even when you are in the middle of the city:
1) Grow some plants.
Even if you don’t have a garden or aren’t very mobile, caring for plants indoors can still help you get some benefits from nature.
2) Stop and listen to the birds.
We’re so lucky in Sheffield because we have lots of green spaces. Take a walk to your local park, sit on a bench and listen to the birds. Listening to birdsong provides us with pleasure and birds are interesting to watch, attracting our attention and distracting our minds from daily routines. Watching and listening to birds is thought to promote recovery from mental fatigue and facilitate a recovery from stress. You could also try hanging a bird feeder outside your window.
3) Join a local walking group.
Socially-distanced walking is a very popular pastime for a lot of people. You can take part in walks that explore both the urban and rural environment. Or just walk on your own – walking is proven to be beneficial to both physical and mental wellbeing.
4) Be mindful in nature.
Find things to see, hear, taste, smell and touch, like grass under your feet or the feeling of wind and sunlight. You could also listen to recordings of mindfulness exercises.
Of course, whenever taking part in outdoor activities, remember to observe COVID-19 restrictions.
Derbyshire City Council’s Director of Public Health, Dean Wallace, said: “Following government rules and guidelines is making a real difference and it’s so important we all carry on doing all we can.
“I’d also encourage people to go and get tested at the community testing facilities that are now open around the county so that people who have the virus but are not showing any symptoms can isolate if they test positive and help to stop the spread.”