Nature and Your Mental Heath

During the pandemic, millions of us have experienced a mental health problem, or seen a loved one struggle. If ever, there was a time that your mental health was essential it’s now. The upheaval of the last year, the uncertainty, stress, loneliness and in many cases financial hardship as been difficult for everyone. Depression and Anxiety has been on the increase, quite understandably. While the support networks have disappeared and the support needed just was not out there.

In a recent tweet from the Samaritans, they say: We all have mental health, and it’s just as important to look after as our physical health

In a recent survey of over 500 people severely affected by mental illness, an overwhelming majority of 88% said that discrimination towards people severely affected by mental illness is widespread in England. This is been talked about more but there is still a long way to go. In a way, mental health problems are often invisible in a way that physical health problems are visible. You would openly be asked if your cold was better or had a back injury improved but rarely would a mental health problem be discussed in the same way.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021(is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation) and takes place from the 10th May to the 16th of May. This year’s theme is nature. They are inviting us to immerse yourselves in the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, while reconnecting with nature across the week. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mind community is been asked to speak out and share why fighting for mental health is important to them.

After a year, where we’ve seen more of the four walls in our homes than the great outdoors. It seems the perfect theme as well as a much-needed opportunity to reconnect with nature and the environment. As the nation eases out of lockdown and spring time is starting to bloom, this is a perfect time to reflect on the positive, the beauty and power of nature. To savour the moment, by sitting in your garden, a park or taking a walk. Having a greater awareness of the world around us helps us see the unusual and notice simple pleasures like the changing seasons. To been present to our feelings. It’s time to re-balance our relationship with nature, from forests, to parks and gardens, to window boxes or even house plants. Interacting with nature can enjoyable and beneficial to our mental health and wellbeing.

The benefits of connecting to the environment around us can stimulate our senses, help us to gain a sense of peace which helps our minds rest, whilst improving concentration. New and exciting research is happening all the time that adds to our understanding of how our natural environment affects the health of our bodies and minds. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you. To thrive and for nature to thrive around you.

Many people find nature inspires them to create, be it through painting, drawing, photography or writing. Many famous artists and writers attribute their masterpieces to nature.

There is good evidence to, that people who spend time gardening experience a wide range of positive results. An important link has been found between spending time outdoors and how physically active you are.

The world of nature is truly incredible; inspiring, soothing and enchanting. Connecting us to something far bigger.  A true medicine for mental health and a balm for our souls.

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Stop and Smell the Roses

We often hear the phrase, Stop and Smell the Roses, and whilst I am sure there are several takes on this, to me it means; to pause, reflect and look at the brighter side of life. English Rose Gardens remind me of visiting my grandparents’ house when I was a child, I am instantly transported to happy times. Nostalgic yet uplifting too.

Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, literally the queen of flowers. We all love and appreciate their beauty and they have a myriad of uses in bath and body products, fragrance, room aromas, love potions, teas and cooking ingredients. The benefits to the mind and body have been recognized for thousands of years. The Incas used Rose Otto essential oil as a cure-all.  Rose oils were linked to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite and the Roman goddess of love, Venus. Even Cleopatra, regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women used roses in her facial and bathing rituals.

Seen as a universal symbol of love, roses are widely used by people to express their feelings to their loved ones. In perfumery its currently used in 75% of modern feminine fragrances and 10% of men’s fragrances. (In Muslin countries this was originally a man’s scent)

We sometimes regard perfumes with notes of rose as been a little old-fashioned, however, there’s a new crop of perfumes without a trace of Eau de Grandmère. Rose scents are constantly re-invented, in fact it’s a note never too far from a perfumer’s vision, a bit like the Little Black Dress of the fragrance world.  There is a real resurgence right now in rose perfumes. Some say it’s down to political uncertainty and consumers feel the need to surround themselves with something familiar and comforting. I think this is true in part, but also there is something dreamy glorious about receiving a large bouquet of flowers. The scent of rose can have so many different elements, sweet- smelling, fresh, zesty, heady, sumptuous, romantic even aromatic. The Chelsea Flower Show in a bottle!

Rose is said to soothe the heart, heal past griefs, reduce nervous energy and depression, encourage self-love and help to move forward positivity in difficult times. It has spiritual qualities and can aid healing during times of bereavement. It would be beneficial at this difficult time, to drink rose tea as it soothes the mind, heart and throat.

Ayvurvedic healers have used the rose plant in herbal remedies, tinctures, oils, teas, and skincare for many years. Rose balances the Sadhaka Pitta, which governs emotions and how it impacts the heart. Rose- water showers are used traditionally at Indian weddings. The wedding bed is covered in Red rose petals for several reasons: the scent is calming to the nerves and act as a sedative, (It lowers the cortisol stress hormones) roses are an aphrodisiac and the colour Red relates to romance and passion. So, this sets up a favourable mood for the newly-weds special evening.

In beauty products for the face and body, rose has many valuable properties, its complex array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can be very enriching for dry skin, as it soothes irritations, reduces redness and stimulates collagen. All of which help to counteract premature aging. It’s an emollient, which locks moisture into your skin, which then helps to keep your skin feeling hydrated for longer while also improving its texture, giving a soft, healthy glow.

On a final note, I can say that Roses possess a heavenly scent, are wonderful in perfumes, bath and body products, room aromas or simply as flowers in a vase. They can represent spiritually, purity, passion, friendship and love and are present in our thoughts and hearts like no other flower.

The world is a rose, smell it, and pass it to your friends.”

– Persian Proverb