It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2021! 🥳 The theme of MHAW this year is ‘nature’. And after the weird coronavirus-y year-and-a-bit we’ve all had indoors, that seems a more relevant theme than ever! We want to encourage you to reconnect with nature as much as possible during this week (and beyond!), so we thought we’d share our experiences of the great outdoors and how they help us. 🌱
We’d love to see you sharing your stories about nature too – tag us in your posts on socials! @headsabovethewaves on everything, apart from Twitter, where we’re @hatw_uk
Recently I started skateboarding again, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager. Honestly, it’s been ace!
I was looking for a way to spend time outside and get some exercise (heck yes physical resilience!) that was different to walking around my local park that I’ve done a thousand times this last year.
Skating is an awesome workout. It’s so great to be back on my board trying new things and just coasting about. It’s been really challenging to re-learn how to do everything, especially as my knees and back aren’t what they used to be! The social & community aspect of skating is really supportive and lush too! Plus it’s just a rad way to get out and get some fresh air.
Although I fall over… a lot (bless you knee pads!) – it’s a good lesson in picking yourself back up every time, learning new things and generally just boosting my endorphins and making me feel happy!
It was a bit daunting getting back into it and I was worried I was “past it” but honestly I’m having a blast. I’m doing this just for myself, no pressure or judgement and I’m loving spending time outdoors.
If like me, you’re thinking of getting back into skateboarding my advice is just to do it, grab a board and get out there. Maybe head to your local skate park early in the morning when it’s less busy to try a few things out. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or pointers! It’s like riding a bike! Except it’s a skateboard ha!
If you’re not sure where to start or have never skated before have a google for any skate groups or classes in your area, or hit up your local skate shop and have a chat to the staff!
If you’re in Cardiff our neighbours in the emporium at CSC can give you advice on a board and the good spots to head to!
If you’re female, non-binary or just a little intimidated by the skate park, Prom Queen Social Club is a safe and inclusive skate cru full of badass individuals that are super welcoming and encouraging!
Throughout the second lockdown my partner went back to work and I was stuck at home with little to no work on. I started getting myself into a little more of a routine because otherwise I’d spend all day, everyday watching Netflix on the sofa! It first began with our weekend walks to get coffee from the wonderful Stol Coffee who did coffee and meaningful conversations on a Saturday and Sunday at a local park. I’d go on a walk, have a chat and I’d feel amazing after. I started seeing the benefit and decided to go on a walk every morning, rain or shine. I’d get up, walk around my local town, down to the beach and get a little reward coffee from a local coffee shop.
In those 30 mins to an hour I’d sit by the waves, walk with a podcast in or listen to my favourite tunes. I’d see local dog walkers who would smile and say hi, listen to birds chirp or just look at the trees blowing in the wind. I started documenting this with 1 second everyday from January 1st and it really made me appreciate the impact that nature can have on your mental health. It can help clear your mind and set you up ready to face the challenges of the day.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was always the kid who’d roll his eyes and rather be home with the PlayStation every time my parents insisted on going out for a walk when we were kids.
BUT! The more I think about it, the more I’ve found myself enjoying being outside. We recently got a dog for the first time [there’s a video of him H E R E] which has meant I’ve had to get up and outside several times a day for walks with him. Having to keep an eye on him while I’m outside has meant that I’ve rarely had my phone out while we’re walking. And that’s making me actually be more aware of my surroundings.
I’m finding my eyes hurt less, cuz instead of staring at a screen all day, I’m taking a break & looking at the greenery around us. Without the distractions of notifications, I’m paying more attention to the sights, sounds & smells around me. I’m consciously noticing details like the smell of the freshly cut grass, or the sight of flowers starting to bloom as we get towards spring. I guess it’s kinda like the ‘Grounding 5-4-3-2-1‘ exercise; I’m almost in a meditative state..!
But I guess most of all, it’s great to be outside & walking.. just because. I walk to and from town most days, but that’s very much on a mission to get to work or something. I’ve usually got my headphones in, and my head down, just trying to reach my destination. So I’m loving being able to do the opposite, and actually take the time to take in everything around me. It really helps reset & calm my mind down!
That’s our experiences, but what about you? What do you do to get outside? And how does it help your mental health? We wanna hear about it! Share what you love about getting out in nature & how it helps you!
We need you to keep HATW going & keep creating stuff to help people who are struggling with their mental health! The easiest way to support us is by picking up some merch with a message. So you’re helping us help others, AND you get some sweet new garms in the process! Result!