1, November 2023
Nature: The Great Stress Reliever
The start of November marked International Stress Awareness Week. If you’ve suffered from stress, you’ll probably already be aware of it, but do you know how best to deal with it? Stress is our body’s natural reaction to life’s challenges. When we face a threat or pressure, our body releases adrenaline, which usually helps us act quickly and get stuff done. But too much adrenaline can be overwhelming, making us feel mentally and sometimes physically unwell. Thankfully, some of the simplest and most effective ways to tackle stress lie within wonderful Nature...
CONNECT WITH THE GREAT OUTDOORS
It’s widely reported that Nature is good for wellbeing. So good, in fact, that researchers are currently conducting a study to discover which specific trees offer the biggest wellbeing benefits. It’s hoped that the findings will help inform the type of trees planted in the UK Government’s drive for Net Zero.
So, if you can, get outside: stroll to your nearest park and marvel at the trees, head to your nearest river and hear the rushing water, delve into woodland and listen to the birds. There are so many outdoor activities that help reduce stress: wild swimming, birdwatching, forest bathing – but sometimes a simple walk is all you need.
Not everyone can get outside so easily, but it’s still possible to enjoy the benefits of Nature from indoors – a recent study found that even watching a short Nature video was enough to boost mood and relieve stress in young people. Another way of connecting with Nature without leaving the house is to give Nature meditation a whirl. We love these calming Nature meditations from our tree-planting partners, TreeSisters.
GIVE GARDENING A GO
Many people find solace from stress in gardening. Being close to plants and flowers, observing birds and insects and the sense of nurturing are all reasons why.
That gardening is good for wellbeing is proven in multiple studies; this page on the Royal Horticultural Society’s website is packed with information. And this free online course from social & therapeutic horticulture charity Thrive encourages you to use gardening as a tool for wellbeing.
If you don’t have an outdoor space to call your own, there are still plenty of ways to reap the benefits of gardening. As well as cleaning the air, houseplants have been proven to improve productivity in offices. So, if you work from home, adding some greenery to your workspace could help dial down stress at your desk.
Joining a gardening group is a great way of meeting others, combating loneliness and sharing the stress-relieving joy of growing. Search for community gardening groups in your area here, or if you’re interested in organic gardening in particular, here.
SPEND TIME WITH ANIMALS
We love animals. They’re fascinating, funny – and officially good for your health. Spending time stroking a cat or a dog is scientifically proven to relieve stress. A recent study by Washington State University found that just ten minutes spent with canine or feline pals can bring down stress levels.
If you’re feeling stressed and you’re a pet owner, spending a few moments curled up on the sofa cuddling your furry friend can help calm you down and reduce those feelings of overwhelm.
Not lucky enough to own a pet? Ask friends or family if you can spend time with theirs. Take a dog for a walk in Nature and you’ll be completing two of the stress-busting activities on this list in one! BorrowMyDoggy is an online community that connects those wanting to spend time with dogs with owners who need a little help.
Animal assisted therapy programmes like these from The Donkey Sanctuary are a way to spend time with animals with the specific aim of aiding wellbeing. Therapy aside, there are plenty of days out that get you close to the healing power of animals, like petting farms and alpaca walks. Or why not just take that stroll in Nature and see what creatures you can find?
For centuries, people have used the essential oil of lavender for its calming effects. There are so many ways to incorporate this amazing aroma into your daily routine: use a diffuser to flood your space with it, pop a couple of drops on your pillow, hang bunches of the dried flowers.
Some of our most-loved products contain lavender: try washing your hair with our Lavender & Geranium Shampoo and Conditioner, enjoy our Lavender Soap or Lavender & Geranium Body Wash in the shower or bath, or massage our Lavender & Geranium Hand and Body Lotion into your skin.
Here’s a tip: people often associate lavender with bedtime, but introducing it into your morning routine can help calm your nerves ahead of a busy day.