• Kedren Elliott

Connecting with Nature for better mental health

This week we were very excited to welcome our first guest speaker to the Happiness Hub.

Katie Greenwood from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust came down to talk to us about how connecting with nature is great for your wellbeing and to tell us about the work they are doing, in particular campaigns and activities in and around Nantwich.

Katie talked about how a wildlife-rich environment benefits both physical and mental health and how we can connect to nature to improve both. They have something similar to the 5 Ways to Wellness which we're using as our monthly well-being these at the Happiness Hub which they use called the 5 ways to nature connect:

  1. Contact. Explore, take a closer look and get in touch with the natural world. ...

  2. Beauty. Take time to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature. ...

  3. Meaning. Consider what nature means to you. ...

  4. Emotion. Find happiness and wonder. ...

  5. Compassion. Think about what you could do for nature.

It made me think that we are incredibly lucky to live in such a rural area of the UK and to be surrounded by rolling countryside, but how often do we make the most of it or really notice it when we're out in it?

Katie explained about the work that The Cheshire Wildlife Trust is doing in order to bring wildlife to more people, and more people to wildlife. And how their workshops and campaigns encourage people to get involved and make socialising, volunteering and exercising in natural places central to everyone's daily life.

It was very powerful to hear the research the Trust had been doing on wellness and nature and that a recent study done with Wildlife Trust volunteers showed that 95% of participants with low mental wellbeing at the start of volunteering reported an improvement in 6 weeks!

After Katie's talk, she showed us how to make bird feeders from some very simple ingredients and materials. These feeders were made simply from a toilet roll, some string, peanut butter and some birdseed, which will encourage birds into our gardens during the autumn/winter months. Although we were a bit worried when putting out the materials for the activity that someone might have thought they were snacks!

We want to say a massive thanks to Katie from the Trust for coming down to talk to us and we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for more news of all the things they have planned locally.

There's are tons of ways to get involved and lots of activities and resources on the Cheshire Wildlife Trusts website that will help you connect to nature in your local surroundings and in your own garden. Including a six-week Wellbeing with Nature programme, a Wilder Wellbeing Pack and loads of advice and ideas on what you can do and where you can go to connect with nature. They are also very active on Instagram and on their Facebook page too, so give them a follow so don't miss out on all the latest news.

We're hoping that Katie will come back to the Happiness Hub again next year to tell us more about the campaigns and work they are doing in Nantwich. So we can help spread the word, get more people involved and ultimately help them with their well-being by connecting to nature.

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