For this year’s University Mental Health Day, I want to celebrate something a bit different, particularly as we enter the second half of the year, with exams and deadlines approaching. Reaching out to support services can be stressful and intimidating, and telling someone who’s anxious to go out and get some exercise isn’t always that helpful. Here’s something a little different. This year, I want to focus on something that’s largely free, easy to enjoy, and I think increasingly under-appreciated – nature and the outdoors.
Humans are social animals, and nobody would be able to survive alone. The extent of this varies from person to person (and by writing this I might be giving away that I’m hardly on the extroverted side), but everybody needs time away from the busy world we live in. Though we are social animals, I think it’s fair to say that we’re increasingly alienated from the natural world, as more of us lead busier lives in increasingly dense, grey environments, surrounded by noise and movement.
Here lies the two huge benefits of nature; it is both reflective and introspective, depending on what you want and how you feel. It’s quieter and more peaceful, with the sounds of cars and conversations replaced by the birds and the wind. Very rarely is there any sense of rush in the natural world, and this is something that has an immediately calming effect. When we’re walking somewhere, it’s almost always because we have somewhere to be, often fairly soon. Going for a walk in the park, meanwhile, can be as slow as you like. It can be reflective, because you’re in a place surrounded by natural beauty; trees, birds, and other animals just existing, in a much more pleasant manner than we often do.
I think one of the best examples on campus would be our geese, particularly at the river behind Bluebell. If you’ve had a bad day, this environment can be a much more pleasant distraction than just sitting in your room. Being in nature often allows you to think things through in a calm environment. I would recommend, if you’re ever stuck on anything, to go for a walk somewhere peaceful. I often find that this kind of reflection allows my thoughts to work themselves out much quicker and easier than if I was to sit on them.
For me, the outdoors is a source of familiarity. Coming to university, to an entirely new place (and for many people, a new country) with new people, I think this familiarity is something everyone can and should enjoy as much as possible.
University Mental Health Day
- Come along to the Students' Union Atrium on Thursday 3rd March 2022 from 12pm until 3pm to have a chat with Wellbeing Professional and peers.
- To access support at Warwick, please visit Wellbeing Support Services via the Wellbeing Portal, to help you develop the personal resources and skills you need to navigate the challenges and opportunities of student life.
- If you're in need of advice surrounding various aspects of university life, from housing through to money, the SU Advice Centre is on hand to help. Find out more here.