For many of us January can be a bleak month, and with today being Blue Monday (the day of the year that’s supposed to be the most depressing) it can be easy to want to curl up in the duvet and not leave the house for the day! The good news is there are some great ways you can combat the blues and getting out in nature is one of the very best.
There’s a lot of research to suggest that contact with nature can improve our health, as well as making us feel better on a daily basis, here’s just a few examples. In 1984 Roger Ulrich compared the recovery times of gall bladder patients who had a view of a brick wall to those who had a view of a natural setting. He found that those with a view of the natural setting had a shorter recovery time than those who had the view of a brick wall.
More recent research in 2016 by the Wildlife Trusts and the University of Derby looked at how the 30 Days Wild campaign (doing something wild every day in June) affected people. The study suggests that being outdoors increased people’s happiness, health and willingness to help nature, and that these effects remained after the campaign finished.
Finally, research in 2017, by the Wildlife Trusts and University of Exeter looked at the effects conservation volunteering has on people’s mental wellbeing. The study reported that just six weeks of volunteering increased mental wellbeing.
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have a number of great projects which show in practice what the research suggests, both for children and adults. Our woodland therapy group at Bouldnor Forest on the Isle of Wight has produced some great outcomes for local people. One participant explains how the group helps them:
“Woodland therapy is an absolute must for me every week. As soon as I get to Bouldnor my head goes quiet, a total positive extreme to the chaos that usually reigns. Nothing is expected of you, nor are you judged by your mental illness. It’s great to be treated as an equal.” Woodland Therapy Participant
So how do you get these benefits for yourself? To join one of our groups visit our what’s on pages to find out more details about joining Woodland Therapy at Bouldnor Forest, or to join our new group Natural Wellbeing at Blashford Lakes http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/whats-on
But most importantly remember this January to look up, look out your window and to take time to go outside!