May - Mindful May
It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much.
Mindfulness is a way of paying more attention to the present moment, to the world around you and to your own thoughts and feelings. Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. It can help us to manage our mental and emotional wellbeing. Focusing on the present moment, as well as what is in our control, can help us bring down our stress levels and reduce anxiety and worry
An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment.
Find out more about the benefits of Mindfulness on the NHS website.
Send your completed activities to us
You can send all your completed activities and photos of you enjoying the outdoors to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10 - 16 May 2021. The Mental Health Foundation has chosen Nature as its theme for this year’s global event. They aim to inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact that this connection can have for their mental health. The evidence is clear that access to nature is crucial for our mental health and millions of people have re-discovered that during lockdowns this year.
The week is an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with focus on providing help and advice. The week will be an opportunity to open our eyes to the power of nature.
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week.
In Chesterfield we have worked with local partners to support ‘Mental Health Awareness’ week and incorporate our two themes: Nature and Mindfulness. There are some free virtual sessions, webinars and training available, please see information below on these events.
Workers Educational Association
Monday 10 May 4.45pm to 6.45pm - Art and Nature (with Karen Davies) Course reference: C2345293 PIN: 70917
Tuesday 11 May 11.45am to 1.45pm - Meditation and Mindfulness: Nature is the Present (with Caroline Meadows) Course reference: C2345294 PIN: 10204
Thursday 13 May 7.15pm to 9.15pm - Up and at ‘Em: Getting Motivated and Inspired (with Shaun Kennedy) Course reference: C2345295 PIN: 85598
Friday 14 May 11.45am to 1.45pm - Feel Write: Creative Positivity (with Shaun Kennedy) Course reference: C2345296 PIN 14949
You can enrol online using the above course references and PIN numbers on the Workers Educational Association website or by calling 0300 303 3464
Thursday 13 May 1pm to 1.30pm - Mentell opens up the discussion around the role ‘giving back’ plays in positive mental and emotional health. Sign up for this online webinar on the Mentell website.
A Compassionate Voice Foundation
Monday 10 May 6.30pm to 8.00pm - 'Compassionate Voices Speak Out' hear from a a diverse community of ladies, who are all helping and supporting each other through these difficult times. Open to all women.
Thursday 13 May 11am to 12.30pm - 'Compassionate Voices Speak Out' hear from a a diverse community of ladies, who are all helping and supporting each other through these difficult times. Open to all women.
Reserve your place for either of these sessions on the A Compassionate Voice Foundation website.
Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service
Monday 10 May 2pm to 3pm Mindfulness in other settings - A relaxing session to relieve stress and calm anxious thoughts as you get back out there. To pre-book and register please email: email@example.com
Tuesday 11 May 10am to 11am Breathing Space - A visual and practical presentation about overcoming barriers to open spaces and being outdoors. To pre-book and register please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 11 May 2pm - 3pm Mindful Drawing - A gentle introduction to this relaxing technique suitable for anyone with a pen or pencil and scrap of paper (no drawing skills required). To pre-book and register please email: email@example.com
Thursday 13 May 2pm to 3pm Creative Visualisation - Bringing the Outside Inside - Helpful ways to think about the outside world we are missing. To pre-book and register please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Five Ways to Wellbeing
There’s no doubt it’s been a very difficult year, but we want everyone to enjoy the great outdoors and the nature all around us.
But no matter where you live there are simple steps you can take to improve mental wellbeing and resilience and experience the joy of wildlife watching and getting outdoors.
Five Ways to Wellbeing – it’s all about
- Be Active
- Keep Learning
- Take Notice
Find out more about Five Ways to Wellbeing on the Mind website.
Watch the Clouds
When you are next out in your local park take a few minutes to lay down on a blanket on the grass. Watch the clouds passing through the sky. Watch how fast/slow they go, how they change shape with the wind. Can you make them into images of something? Cloud watching is a great way to let your imagination run wild, but at the same time remaining mindful and focusing on what’s in front of you. Children are great at this activity as they have the best imaginations.
Create a nature collage of things that make you happy
Remember that self-care is not selfish – it’s essential. Be willing to share how you feel and ask for help when needed. Make time to do something you really enjoy. You matter. Remember that you are enough, just as you are. Reconnect with nature – even if you’re stuck indoors. Look up at the sky. Remember we are all part of something bigger. Notice 5 things that are beautiful in the world outside. Pause to just watch the sky or clouds for a few minutes. Get outside and notice how the weather feels on your face.
Sign up to Action for Happiness for year long calendars of things to do to make you happy.
Meditation with Fat Frog Yoga
While you are out and about, find a place where you can sit for a moment. If you feel comfortable close your eyes. With your eyes closed try and count any different sounds you can hear. If you are with family you can do this together and see if you heard the same sounds.
Use your senses
When you are out in your favourite park you use your senses more than you think. How does it make you feel when you:
- smell freshly cut grass
- smell the beautiful scent of a flower
- hear the birds singing in the morning
- feel the fresh breeze, hear thunder
- see lightening
- feel the rain on your face
- see spring lambs frolicking
- taste a blackberry picked from a bush
- feel the grass on your feet when you take your shoes off or go for a paddle
- taste your own home grown veg or a strawberry
- hear children playing in a playground or watching a football match. watch and identify the birds and mini beasts around you?
Why not take a look at Grow Outside – a free programme open to everyone – lots of ways to get outside and engage with nature.
In the park or in the garden – but somewhere where it is safe to do so – kick off your shoes and let your toes feel the ground. What does it feel like? Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it hard/soft/spiky/wet? What does it make you feel like? Does it tickle? Walking barefoot on grass can help to reinvigorate your senses and help to calm your mind – especially if you are in peaceful place with fresh air and warm sunlight.
With a friend or relative. One person is blindfolded and the other chooses a tree and leads the other person (carefully) to it. The blindfolded person can feel the trunk, is it rough or smooth, can you fit your arms around it (give it a hug), does it smell of anything, are there any low branches you can feel? Lead that person away from the tree and remove the blindfold. Now, being able to see, can they identify which tree it was? Take it in turns and try different trees.
Take a look at Forestry England’s Forests for Wellbeing.
Eat your food outside – perhaps have a mindful picnic
We use all our senses when we eat. From the moment you see the food you start to taste it. After sight you start to smell the food. From your first bite taste buds send messages to the brain for the different flavours you are experiencing. You think about the texture (crunchy or smooth) then the sound (imagine the sound of crunching on an apple).
Mindful eating is all about using these senses when you eat something. That means thinking about how it feels, smells, sounds, looks, and tastes while you are eating. If the weather is warm, try all different types of foods like marshmallows, ice cream, fruit or vegetables.
Send us photos of you enjoying your mindful picnic.
For more information on mindful eating look on the British Dietetic Website.
Disconnect with tech
Try and have a whole day without screen time. Instead look at the beautiful nature around you with your eyes. This simple act will allow you to get immersed in the moment, take time to relish getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The Night Sky
Lay on a blanket on the ground and look up at the night sky. Notice the vast ocean of darkness that sparkles with infinite stars. Why not download an App to identify the stars and constellations. You might also see the International Space Station, meteor showers or even a shooting star!
Be prepared – it will probably still be quite cold at night – wrap up warm, have a blanket ready and a hot drink.
Give your eyes time to adjust to the night sky. Avoid light pollution if possible – so turn off your house lights – or even better go to a local park.
If you can't join our Mindful Walk on 22 May why not try one of your own?
Often when we are walking we’re in such a hurry to get somewhere that we don’t notice what’s all around us. Why not make the time to just enjoy a stroll outdoors with no particular destination in mind and enjoy all the sensations you experience.
Slow down your pace, focusing on your breath, your steps, your surroundings.
Use all of your senses – can you feel a breeze? What do you smell? What can you hear – cars? People? Birds? What colours can you see?
While on your walk, acknowledge:
- FIVE things you see around you
- FOUR things you can touch around you
- THREE things you hear
- TWO things you can smell
- ONE thing you can taste
Tell us what you have enjoyed the most, how nature has been helping you and don’t forget to send us photos of what you’ve been up to.