Wild Wellbeing - Giving

© Lianne de Mello

The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework for connecting to nature. This week, our final week, we’re going to focus on giving.

Right now, connecting to nature, and taking some time out is even more important, but knowing what to do can be daunting, especially if you’re not able to leave your house. The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework. This is week five of my wellbeing blog, giving you helpful tips and tricks to take time out, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are. This week we’re going to focus on giving.  

We’ve come to the final of the five ways to wellbeing: give. When you think of the word 'give' you might automatically think of money. Although giving money is a great way to support wildlife and people, it’s not the only way you can give. An act of kindness for someone (or something) else, no matter how small, can make us, and them, feel good. I think this quote from the chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation sums it up perfectly.

“There is a strong relationship between the wellbeing, happiness and longevity of those of us who are compassionate. Doing good can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing. This is true across our lives.”

Helping others not only makes us feel good, it helps reduce isolation and increases our sense of belonging, and it can encourage others to repeat the good that they’ve received. Research found that committing an act of kindness once a week for 6 weeks has a positive impact on wellbeing. Something which is mirrored by The Wildlife Trusts research on the wellbeing benefits of volunteering, which found that volunteering for the same length of time had a positive impact on wellbeing, and the impacts are better the longer you do it for. Need some ideas on ways you could give? Keep reading below for inspiration.

If you've only got a minute...

  • Smile- a smile is an act of kindness. Smile at everyone you see, even the strangers. You never know whose day you might brighten.
  • Make your household a cup of tea - ok, arguably if you like your tea brewed this might take more than a minute but even something as simple as making a cup of tea for someone can make us feel good.
  • Make a personal pledge for wildlife - 41% of insects face extinction, but you can take action to save them. Sign up to receive a booklet which contains lots of tips and tricks on how to take action to save the most important creatures on the planet https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/take-action-insects
Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar

Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar © David Kilbey

If you've got five minutes...

  • Support our future work- if you’re already a member, thank you. Your membership helps us to continue our future work for wildlife and people. If you’re not, and would like to support us, find out how here. https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/support-us
  • Feed the birds- putting out bird food is important during the autumn and winter months to help birds have access to food when natural food sources might be scarce. Temporary food shortages can occur all year round, so it’s great, if you can, to feed birds in your garden all year. Be careful about what you put out, with young around there are some foods that aren’t suitable. Avoid peanuts, fat and bread as these can be harmful to young if taken back to the nest, but a good quality seed mix will be great. Our friends at Vine House Farm are still delivering (my order arrived this week) and if you buy from them you also support the Wildlife Trusts https://www.vinehousefarm.co.uk/ (lots of acts of kindness rolled in to one).
  • Share wildlife experiences with your neighbours- if you’ve got a garden you can stand in it and chat to your neighbours or say hello from your balcony or window. Team Wilder members in Portsmouth and Winchester have been setting up nature swaps- surplus gardening materials are left out the front of their houses and the rest of the street can take bits, and add their own so everyone gets access to the things they need to make their gardens a little bit wilder for wildlife.
Tits around bird feeder

© David Foker

If you've got an hour...

  • Become a citizen scientist- we have a good range of records for our nature reserves and the spaces we manage, but we need you to tell us what wildlife you can see from your windows, what visits your balcony and what’s living in your garden. We need your help to create a baseline of the wildlife we have now so we can track our progress to having a Wilder Hampshire and Isle of Wight by 2030. Take part in the surveys: https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/how-wild-are-we
  • Sign up to be part of Team Wilder- we’ve had so many amazing people step forward who are giving their time to lead amazing projects in their communities. Whether you have an idea for a project, are already running one and would like some advice, or don’t know where to start become part of Team Wilder and we’ll support you. https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/team-wilder
  • Take action for wildlife -There’s lots of thing you can do in your own home to help wildlife, no matter how big or small your space. Follow the link to find out what actions you could take https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/actions (building a hedgehog home is next on my list, they’ve been visiting our garden every night for the past few weeks and we’re keen to encourage them to stay!).
WKCA Group at Team Wilder Workshop

WKCA Group at Team Wilder Workshop

© Clare Catling

As always, we love to hear from you, what you’re up to and how you’re connecting to nature. Share your photos and thoughts with us via all our social media platforms or by emailing wilder@hiwwt.org.uk.