10 October 2022

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 

It’s World Mental Health Day. A great opportunity to shine a light on the importance of mental health, how we can look after it and how important it is to talk about things and seek help if you are struggling.  

Some of the Mental Health Foundation ‘Best Mental Health Tips Backed by Research’ are to get closer to nature, keep moving, be curious and open-minded to new experiences, and plan things to look forward to. These are all things that we encourage at OutmoreNI by using the outdoors to help you.  

Get Closer to Nature 

Nature can have a super calming effect on us. We can’t explain it but there is a huge sense of relief and calm when we get out into a natural environment. Did you know that going for a walk was the UK adults’ favourite way of coping with stress during the Covid-19 pandemic? Alternatives to walking in nature include forest-bathing; a new phenomenon started in Japan that is sweeping the nation. We don’t mean taking a literal bath in the forest but rather, being in a woodland or forest area and metaphorically bathing in the sights, smells, textures and sounds around you. Here are some forests you can discover and bath in the calm natural surroundings. 

Tollymore Forest Park 

Gortin Glen Forest Park 

Somerset Forest 

Somerset Forest

Keep Moving 

Although sometimes treated differently, our minds and bodies are very much connected. Helping ourselves physically can also help prevent problems with our mental health. At OutmoreNI we promote lots of ways to move your body; walking, cycling, canoeing, mountain biking and exploring new outdoor places. Exercise, even in low impact forms, releases those “feel good” hormones that can combat feelings of anger or stress, and it’s even better again if we participate with others. Some of our top spots for moving in Northern Ireland include: 

Blessingbourne Blue Trail 

Lagan and Lough Cycle Way 

Lough Erne Canoe Trail 

Lough Erne Canoe Trail

Be Curious and Open-Minded to New Experiences 

Sometimes routines are great but sometimes we can get stuck in a rut of doing the same things over and over which can make us feel a bit bored and low. The same can be said for our thoughts, if we get into a pattern of talking negatively to ourselves. Instead of consistently thinking “things never get any better”, we should try “things can change for the better” and take control. How about trying a new experience and using OutmoreNI.com to find a new outdoor place to visit that you’ve never been before using the interactive map.  

Oxford Island Nature Reserve 

Hillsborough Castle 

Benone Strand 

Benone Strand from Mussenden Temple

Plan Things to Look Forward to 

It isn’t always easy to plan for the future as life can throw all sorts at us when we least expect it but having something to look forward to can help us cope in tricky situations. It doesn’t have to be a big trip or take lots of organising, it can be as simple as looking for a new outdoor place to explore and planning where to visit well in advance. It’s so easy to do with the search functions on Outmore NI. 
How about some inspiration from our #TopOfTheSpots feature where ORNI staff recommend the places they’ve been over their weekends: 

Peatlands Park 

Loughbrickland Walk (Whyte’s Estate)  

Drumkeeragh Forest 

Jasper the dog at Drumkeeragh Forest

For more information on Mental Health, please visit the Mental Health Foundation. 

Fancy a challenge? Walk 12,000 steps a day in November and help raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation. Find out more. 

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