Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – How your business can incorporate nature into its wellbeing strategy.
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 and this year, the Mental Health Foundation decided that Nature should be the key theme. This is due to the increase in the number of people turning to nature during the pandemic to maintain positive mental health.
At Marshall Centre, we believe that nature can be incorporated into any wellbeing strategy to boost the mental health and wellbeing of employees and so we have put together a few ideas to share with you.
1. Encourage staff to go for a walk
The greatest creativity happens when the brain is at rest. Rest doesn’t always mean being passive; for most people it means engaging in a restorative activity such as walking in nature. How often do you notice your people eating lunch at their desks? Or sitting through endless meetings both virtually and in stuffy office spaces? Why not encourage your people to go for a walk before a meeting to discuss creative ways to solve a problem? Your people will arrive at that meeting feeling calmer, sharper and full of bright ideas.
2. Bring the outside in
By introducing office/home office plants you can bring nature indoors and continue to benefit from being surrounded by nature throughout the day. There is much research into the benefits of office plants some of these include stress relief, cleaner air, boosting creativity, reduction of absenteeism and reduction of noise levels to name a few.
3. Exercise in nature
Spring is upon us and so the weather is improving. This means that it is a great time to move indoor fitness activities outside. We know that physical activity boosts dopamine and endorphins – our ‘feel-good’ hormones, so why not encourage your people to enjoy some outdoor exercise together.
4. Get creative outside
A great way to improve wellbeing is to be creative in nature. Encouraging your people to take and share photos, drawings and paintings of the great outdoors will boost morale. You could also encourage your people to work outside wherever possible as most people have adapted to remote working and so are no longer tied down to a desk.
5. Communal vegetable garden
Whether you have space on your premises or you secure space at a nearby allotment, having a communal space for staff to grow vegetables will not only get them out in nature, but also encourage the team to enjoy the healthy vegetables that are grown there.
6. Reduce your carbon footprint
It’s important that we all do our part to look after the planet. We can all take simple steps to protect nature by questioning our actions and choices as individuals and organisations. Does your business have good recycling practices? Do you only order eco-friendly stationery and cleaning products? Do you have a cycle to work scheme? Do you know how to reduce the carbon footprint of your website? Have you installed solar panels to supplement your energy usage? Do you have electric car charging stations in the car park?
Climate change is something that causes many people anxiety and, by proactively including green initiatives into your wellbeing strategy, your organisation will reduce unnecessary stress to your employees who care about the environment.