Walking in nature has improved my mental health and wellbeing, it’s changed me

As part of Men’s Health Week, Men’s Sheds Project Manager, Robert, talks about how spending time outdoors has helped his wellbeing.

For much of 2020-21, like so many people, I found myself in lockdown, working from home, and using my dining room as a workspace.  This went on month after month, hardly going anywhere and some days not leaving the house.  I thought I was coping just fine – I wasn’t.  I really started to notice and dwell on the fact that I’d not seen anyone all day and had not left the 4 walls of my house.  The boundaries between work and home became blurred, coupled with other things, my mood changed and I began to feel very low.  I could not shake it off.

A friend suggested that walking in nature could be good for me.  And that’s when I started to take walks outdoors, firstly around the village and then in nature.  I’m lucky enough to live close to the River Taff and also not far from woodlands, the countryside and some beautiful hillsides.  I started daily walks lasting 15 minutes or so and gradually built up to longer ones.  I often went on a short walk during my lunch break and a longer one later in the day.

Being outside, away from technology and the stresses of life was great for my wellbeing.  The more time I spent in nature and the outdoors walking, the more I was able to ‘switch off’ and feel better.

Last July, a friend told me about some rare orchids that grew in our local woods.  This became a goal and a challenge for me, to go out and find them.  It took a while to see the first one, but after that, the others just seemed to appear on every walk I completed that month.

Walking in nature has really improved my mental health and wellbeing, it’s changed me.

I believe that going for a walk outdoors can massively improve how you feel mentally, as well as physically, so why not give it a try?