Take care of your mind12-05-2021
This week marks the 21st year of Mental Health Awareness Week, a week to encourage everyone to start a conversation about the importance of protecting your mental health.
This year’s theme is ‘Nature’. Research by the Mental Health Foundation has shown that many people found being in nature helped them cope with the stresses and strains of dealing with the pandemic.
“70% of UK adults said being close to nature improved their mood.”
The MHF recommend enjoying quality time, feeling and experiencing the joy of nature around you, the sights and sounds that you may have not noticed before. Nature has a unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder. If you can’t get outside to enjoy nature, there are many ways to bring nature into your workspace:
At Dept for Work & Pensions Treforest, we have introduced moss walls into key areas to create a tranquil environment. A 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney, found significant reductions in stress among workers when plants were introduced to their workspace. Results included a 37% fall in reported tension and anxiety.
Psychologists argue that the colour green has a relaxing and calming effect – so decorating offices with this shade could potentially have a similar affect to introducing plants to the workspace. Our designs often incorporate nature with the use of wall art and wallpapers.
Something as simple as pot plants and hanging plants can have a positive impact on health as well as productivity. The 2015 Human Spaces report, which studied 7,600 offices workers in 16 countries, found that nearly two-thirds (58%) of workers have no live plants in their workspaces. Those whose environments incorporated natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score.
Dr Fraser Torpy, director of the University of Technology Sydney Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group, has found that indoor plants can help reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air-conditioned offices, and by about 25% in buildings without air conditioning.
Employees’ productivity jumps 15% when previously ‘lean’ work environments are filled with just a handful of houseplants, according to 2014 research by the University of Exeter. Adding just one plant per square metre improved memory retention and helped employees score higher on other basic tests, said researcher Dr Chris Knight.
Take time this week to embrace nature, check in on your family and colleagues and take care of your own mental health.