• Amanda Tooms

Connection, Wellbeing and the Great Outdoors!

Now that we’re able to meet with others and enjoy time outside with friends and loved ones I was thinking about how social connection and the outdoors has a positive impact on our wellbeing. I spent a very rare day off work recently and met up with a friend for lunch. Fortunately, the weather was kind to us and for the hours that we spent enjoying lunch and chatting, the wind calmed and the sun shone brightly! Just being outdoors, enjoying the company of my friend, conversing and catching up with each other’s news, being among other people (strangers) who were doing the same or similar and listening to the backdrop of human voices and natures natural sounds was like a breath of fresh air – literally! Being able to take time out of my usual busy schedule and make that connection was such a valuable treat.

Social connection, or its absence, has a profound effect on our wellbeing. People have a basic need to belong, it is inherent in our biological drive. Our interaction and relationships with others can offer support if we need it and they can help to improve and increase our happiness. Now that we’re out of lockdown and restrictions are gradually being eased it feels so great to have the opportunity to connect and appreciate others in ways that we have been previously denied. Connecting with others can give us that ‘feel good’ factor and set into motion a feeling of positivity; the more time, energy and effort that we put into building positive connections and relationships, the more we experience positive emotions. Social connection and feeling a sense of community, being able to share experiences and invest in social freedom is one of the most powerful self-care strategies to boost your wellbeing.

Not only is social interaction and connecting with others great for our mental health, but being outside is even better. Mental Health Awareness Week is 10th to 16th May and the theme for this year is nature. If you login to the Mental Health Foundation website Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 there’s lots of hints and tips on how you can explore nature and appreciate the benefits that nature brings to our wellbeing.

The Oxford dictionary definition of nature is; the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to human-to-human creations.

Forests and oceans are our “life force”, so much so that recent studies have shown that even spending a short amount of time in a natural habitat can have an extremely positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing. (Hartley, A).

With better weather hopefully in the forecast, there are so many benefits of being outdoors, and equally connecting and being with others; even better to be able to combine the two and boost your energy and general senses of being. Natural sunlight helps to mitigate pain and best of all the outdoors boosts your immune system. Exploring with friends and loved ones adds to the benefits; reducing levels of stress, improved self-worth and confidence.

There are so many things to explore outdoors, and opportunity to do it with others.

Whether it’s just being still in the sunshine, feeling the breeze against your skin, chatting over lunch, painting landscapes or bird watching, it’s great to explore, connect, appreciate and savour!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and findings, let me know how you’ve connected by connecting with me in the comments or send me an email


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