This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is Nature. When I look back over the past year, I can see why this has been chosen as the theme. Nature has been my saviour over lockdown. Because nature is free, I took it for granted. I have never considered how important it is to our existence and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. This year, I have noticed how long spring took to get here, how long it is still taking! Never have I looked so closely at leaves on the trees and flowers in the garden. I would not have had time before; I’d have been too busy being sociable!
We have spent a year being told to get out and get some fresh air, connect with the outside world (and avoid the crowds). We have been given this advice because for so many it has been a tremendous coping strategy. Nature provides beauty, peace, and life. It provides space and the opportunity to think. Nature provides us with the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air that we breathe. We rely on all of these things for our health and happiness.
This is one of the reasons why we at nDreams decided to set ourselves a 2021 challenge. We are travelling around the world remotely. That could be cycling, walking, dancing – just something active that gets people outside and gets them moving (that doesn’t involve a car). So far, we are 10% across the world (heading east) – halfway across Russia at a guess.
It’s not just about everything looking brighter and lovelier – 2021 is about moving us all closer to a world where we can regain some normality. The opportunity to see family and friends, hug, and do all the little things we have spent our entire lives taking for granted (and have been banned from doing).
Talking about mental health is something we actively encourage and support at nDreams. We want to remove the stigma associated with mental health. We have many resources in place for our team, such as free counselling, mental health champions / first aiders, and a Slack channel dedicated to providing support. This year, we have started to roll out wellness plans to those who need a little more support, and we are looking at making this something we roll out to the whole company. After all, we all want to stay happy and healthy.
Looking back, I think the past year has given me a gift that I may never get again. It has given me time. Time with my loved ones and time to self-reflect on what is important to me. It has given me a passion for the outdoors, and I am now often found walking in the forests close to my house. On really quiet days, I can look up at the trees and the hills and imagine I could be walking anywhere in the world. I love to walk without headphones on and listen to the birds sing and the foxes and deer rummage amongst the trees. It has certainly been my coping strategy and quite honestly, without it – I’m not so sure I would have come through it so well. The weather is getting warmer, and the nights are lighter. Give it a try, grab some comfy shoes and just walk.
nDreams are a founding studio partner of the #LevelUpMentalHealth campaign from the mental wellbeing charity, Safe in Our World. Be sure to check out the many amazing resources available via their website.
- Vikki Neale [HR Manager]