Sustainable things to do that are great for your mental health too…
10 October 2020
By Hayley Carmichael
As part of Sussex Partnerships Ten4Ten campaign and World Mental Health Day we are celebrating the ways that being more sustainable is also good for your mental mental health.
Going green is good for your mental wellbeing
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Sussex Partnership are leading the way with a great campaign called Ten4Ten that invites organisations around Sussex to share their tips on how to boost mental wellbeing.
Care Without Carbon has always been an advocate for things that boost wellbeing in mind and body because taking care of ourselves is the best way to support sustainable healthcare.
Here are ten ways that you can support the environment and boost mental health into the bargain…
- Go for a walk – this is an easy one as it’s free and accessible, if walking is difficult just getting outside with support whether that is a frame or wheelchair is equally beneficial. Studies have shown that a regular walk can reduce depression by up t 30%. Find out more here. And let’s not forget that when we’re walking its a zero carbon activity!
- Explore green spaces – the nature on our doorstep whether that is a local park or the South Downs is a great way to sooth the mind. Being around green spaces is naturally relaxing and destressing. Mind have some tips here. When we learn to appreciate the greenery around us we also learn to look after it more; and trees are a great way to capture carbon and tackle climate change so the more we care for them the better.
- Veggies for a feelgood factor – berries, green and leafy veggies, nuts and pulses can all help boost your mood. Eating more of these can help manage low moods and also means you are eating less meat. The carbon footprint of meat is pretty high so eating a bit less helps reduce the impact of that and you can feel good about that too! Here are some more tips on the ways food can help with your mood.
- Get on your bike – cycling is a good cheap way to get from A to B, it produces no air pollution and no carbon so is great for the environment too. It’s easy to build into your routine and is proven way to reduce stress and boost feelgood hormones. Find out more.
- Grow your own – from a window sill to a garden, there are loads of ways to grown your own at home. Food you grow yourself has no food miles which means zero carbon footprint so it’s as good for the planet as it is for you. And time spent gardening is great for mental wellbeing as it is proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels and improve your mood. This article explains more.
- Get physical – selfcare is the most sustainable thing we can do for healthcare. Studies prove that physical activity boosts our mood with the release of endorphins that make us feel good. A regular work out or a short burst of activity little and often can really help us stay fit and well and both mind and body. Here’s more info.
- Tackle air pollution – whether you walk, cycle or take public transport the less you use a car the better it is for local air quality. And if you do drive, don’t idle when stationary which also helps limit pollution. There are strong links between air pollution and health, and evidence to show that it can increase risk of depression. So the more we can do to reduce air pollution the better it is for our mental wellbeing. This article from the UN has more detail.
- Have a warm and comfortable home – good insulation in your home helps to reduce energy use saving you money and cutting the carbon footprint of heating your home too. It also ensures that your home stays warm and comfortable so you can stay well. Studies have shown that living in a cold home can increase the risk of depression and anxiety and other mental health issues. There are lots of community funds and support available to help with improving home insulation, google for what’s happening in your area. This report provides more info on this topic.
- Volunteer with a local environmental group – there are loads of different ways to get involved with local groups doing something to protect the environment from planting for bees to beach cleans. They are a great way to feel good by doing good and offer an opportunity to meet others too. This paper talks about how being kind to others and giving through volunteering is great for mental health.
- Declutter for more headspace – when we accumulate a lot of stuff it can add to a general sense of stress as being surrounded by clutter can spike the stress hormone cortisol. A good clear out can clear out our mind and give us space to think. Instead of throwing things out, have a think about what can be reused and donate to charity or offer it via a network such as freecycle. A good way to have less clutter is to reduce what we buy too – saves money and reduces waste – a win-win! Check out this article for why a good declutter is good for you.