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Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

It is Mental Health Awareness Week this week (10-16 May 2021), the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health. The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Nature’. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.

The Beach

Below are some photos I've taken at sunrise with friends and family.

We take a flask and some blankets and hats to our favourite spot at Shingle Street beach and watch the sun come up. I find it very peaceful and great for stilling my mind with the silence.

Another place I love to go to find some peace is the nearby Rendlesham Forest. Forest bathing (shinrin-yoku in Japanese) can ease stress, bring us into the present moment and connect us to nature through our senses.

There are loads of different activities you can do in the forest, from walking the dogs and building dens to segway or cycling. Children will love looking for sticks, playing hide and seek, balancing on logs and finding hidden rope swings. Marvel at the height of the trees and try to guess the types.

Forestry England is encouraging people to share their #MyForestMoment. Whether it's a high adrenaline mountain bike descent or simply sitting quietly on the forest floor, heading for the trees is the perfect way to take time out.

Some of the ways people can participate in Mental Health Awareness Week

The Mental Health Foundation has some ideas for how you can take part:

- why not try to make a habit each day of connecting to the nature in your local area? Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.

- share images/videos/or just sound recordings of the nature on your doorstep (and how this made you feel) on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

- tend to a house plant, listen to the birds, touch the bark of trees, smell flowers or write a poem about your favourite nature spot

Tag me on social media with your favourite ways to unwind through nature.

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