We're living through very strange times at the moment and many people are finding solace in nature. Those who have gardens are spending more time in them and those who have access to nearby green spaces are exploring them for their #DailyExercise walks. We've enjoyed discovering how valuable our local cemeteries and park are for wildlife. Our latest discovery is the ringlet butterfly, which in previous years we've seen in various locations around Edinburgh, but were surprised to find today in both the local park and in North Merchiston Cemetery, it really is a lovely butterfly
Lockdown hasn't always been positive for the human nature relationship, but despite all the thoughtless people causing fires and littering in nature reserves and on beaches across the UK, I think it is true that many people have developed a stronger bond with nature than they previously had.
Spending time in nature is good for your physical and mental health and wellbeing.Nature offers a space for slowing down and focussing on things that can distract from problems in life. Learning about nature can offer an engrossing and interesting hobby that can keep you mentally alert and engaged. Walking in nature is great gentle exercise and any time spent in green spaces can lift your mood.
I was interested earlier today to discover that the World Wide Fund for Nature has collaborated with the Mental Health Foundation to produce the Thriving with Nature Guide.
This is an accessible, inspiring booklet to get people thinking more about nature, spending more time in nature and using it as inspiration for creative projects. The book is broken down on a seasonal basis, with plenty of ideas for enjoying and benefiting from nature whatever the time of year.
There are also some charities working specifically in the area of ecotherapy or the related area of horticultural therapy. Thrive is a charity that brings together horticultural therapy projects across England (Trellis being the equivalent in Scotland) while Scottish Association for Mental Health is just one of the mental health charities that offer horticultural therapy in some of its projects (though of course these projects are currently closed or working online during lockdown).