A coalition of leading nature, environment and mental health organisations launches a campaign to help people connect with nature and boost their mental health during lockdown.
With the Easter bank holiday weekend on the horizon, and families longing to be outdoors in the fresh air, the campaign highlights easy, fun ways to connect with nature from the comfort of your own home, even if it’s through a window.
The premise of the #VitaminN campaign is simple: everyone needs a daily dose of nature to keep us healthy and that’s increasingly important while we are all housebound.
TOP 5 ACTIVITIES TO TRY THIS EASTER WEEKEND:
Take part in RSPB’s #BreakfastBirdwatch for a moment of calm before you start the day.
Spring scavenger hunt
Set the family an Easter challenge to fill empty egg cartons with a host of natural treasures.
Grow your own
You don’t need a garden to grow your own veggies, just some seeds and a shallow tray.
Build a bug hotel
Celebrate the invertebrates by creating a creepy-crawly community centre on your doorstep.
Learn a range of wildlife themed yoga poses such as the frog and the heron.
Craig Bennett, newly appointed CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, comments: “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives. Its impact on our health and wellbeing is well proven – with regular contact known to reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Our bodies are meant to be active – and we’re meant to spend time connecting with nature! But, with the Government’s important advice at the moment to stay at home and restrict travel, it can be challenging to maintain this, at the risk of our wellbeing.
“That’s why we’ve come together with our partners to highlight easy, fun and unusual ways for us all to connect with nature and the wildlife on our doorstep. Whilst many people are likely to feel a bit stuck at home there are opportunities to make space for nature – whether it’s stopping for a moment to look out of the window and take notice of what’s around, watching wildlife activity on webcams or having some fun with daily indoor nature-themed challenges.
“We’d love everyone to join us in rejoicing in our everyday wildlife – and help us to reach other people in their community who might benefit too!”
Dr Eleanor Ratcliffe, Lecturer in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey, adds: “A large number of scientific studies show that experience of nature can improve health and wellbeing, and especially recovery from everyday stress and fatigue.
“The current restrictions to movements outside the home mean it’s not as easy to visit our favourite parks and woodlands, but there are ways to connect with nature even from the safety of indoors. Just listening to birdsong from the window, or looking at a tree in the distance, can help people to feel happier and more relaxed.”
Participating organisations contributing resources as part of #VitaminN include RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, the Wilderness Foundation, WWF, Nature Friendly Farming Network, The Climate Coalition, Mental Health Collective and Jordans Cereals. To get your daily dose of nature delivered to your news feed, follow #VitaminN today.
Dr Amy Pollard, Founder and Director of Mental Health Collective: “With people across the country forced to stay in their homes and sacrifice the personal freedoms we take for granted, our collective mental health is under threat like never before. Nature soothes us and relieves anxiety, so we are pooling our ideas and resources to support people to connect with the natural world in any way they can.”
Natasha Yorke-Edgell, Head of Campaigning at RSPB: “For many of us reconnecting with the natural world makes us feel happier and more relaxed. Whether it’s listening to the birds outside or watching a butterfly go past your window, we know the more time people spend with nature, the more it will lift our spirits. Even in this time of lockdown, watching wildlife can take us away from our daily stresses and help us remember the little pleasures in life.”
Jo Roberts, CEO at Wilderness Foundation: “Taking time to share the benefits of nature for everyone is critically important. Vitamin N inspires people to understand why they feel better outside, or looking out of a window onto a park, or noticing a small flower or hearing a bird sing.”
Mia Hartwell, Sustainability Manager at Jordans Cereals: “At this time of crisis, it’s important that we all have some sort of escape to keep us entertained during the long hours at home. Bringing together all of our respective resources in this way provides a one-stop-shop for the British public to escape to nature and also have some fun along the way.”