Get the feel-good factor.... naturally

Wednesday, 8th May 2019

Get the feel-good factor.... naturally

Could spending time in nature be a prescription to feeling better - both in body and mind? Yes, say the experts, and our readers wholeheartedly agree! At Home heads to the woods to find out more...

Rolling hills, rugged coastlines and rustling trees. Big skies, bright-eyed wildlife and beautiful flowers. Is it any wonder we feel better when we're out there, than when we're stuck indoors?

But did you know the benefits to our wellbeing are so impressive that mental health charity, Mind, actually recommends spending time outside as a way of improving anxiety and depression?

All of that fresh air, natural light and interaction with other people and wildlife can help with everything from reducing feelings of stress and anger, to improving confidence and self-esteem.

Carly Atkinson, a Karbon resident in Allendale, Northumberland, gets her fresh air fix by helping to protect some very special neighbours.

We're lucky enough to live in a red squirrel area and as a community we take our responsibility for looking after them pretty seriously.

There are so few red squirrels left in the UK and we want to take care of them and their habitat to protect them for future generations. We realised we needed to do something to help the red squirrels when we noticed a number had been bumped by cars in the village. My next-door neighbour, Matthew, set up a group, Allan Valleys Red Squirrels, so everyone could get involved.

Lots of people help out. Everyone from elderly people to children play a part - it's something that joins people together and bridges the age gap. We make up a map of where red squirrels have been sighted, we put up signs to encourage drivers to slow down, and we set up feeding boxes.My whole family is involved in one way or another. My husband is a photographer so this is a great subject matter for him. I'm not one for being stuck indoors and our three boys - three-year old twins and a five-month old - all love to be outside too.

We work in samll groups and individually to get things done. Doing work independently gives you a nice chance to have time alone with your thoughts and to enjoy the fresh air and the sights and sounds of the countryside. Working with the group is lovely too as it's a reminder of what bring us together. 

Being part of a group with a cause, and having a reason to get out into the countryside, is definitely a powerful motivator. It really spurs you on to get outside when you're feeling tired or low and gets you into a good routine.

To find out more about joining Allen Valleys Red Squirrels on Facebook