This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, when people everywhere open up about mental health and strive to further break the taboo that often surrounds it. Many articles and studies explain the various factors that contribute to wellness, so we have used five of these to suggest things you can do in Northumberland to improve your wellness.
Research shows that animals can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, and while most people think of dogs as a common stress remedy, Ferny Rigg have a different approach. They run Alpaca Walks through Northumberland National Park, so you can you get active and enjoy the fresh country air with an adorable, fluffy alpaca by your side. As they themselves put it, they are ‘guaranteed to make you smile’ with their loveable nature and quirky charm. They run group walks, private walks and walks that are suitable for children, so al-paca your walking boots and head to Falstone.
The mental health charity Mind emphasise the importance of nourishing your social life. Meeting up with that colleague you are just getting to know, spending time with a loved one, or chatting with group of friends can help you feel connected and valued. When the May weather is warm, you don’t have to spend money to socialise, particularly when you eat ‘al fresco’. So, roll up a blanket, fill a basket with your favourite food, and head to the beach to listen to the crashing waves and the cawing seagulls while you chat over some snacks.
The Good News Network recently shared an article that summarised a new study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, that suggests that the ‘nature-pill’ can reduce the negative health impacts of consistently staying indoors. With our number of peaceful English Heritage and National Trust sites, such as Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens (English Heritage) or Cragside House, Gardens & Estate (National Trust) it is easy to lose yourself in enchanting gardens; enjoy the lingering floral scents, focus on the gentle tweeting of birds and take some time to reflect in a tranquil environment.
The Mental Health Foundation suggest that we should value physical activity for its positive impact on our well-being. This physical activity does not have to be rigorous – a simple walk is enough to release endorphins and cause chemical changes in the brain that can positively affect our mood. Home to England’s cleanest rivers and air, and as England’s quietest and least inhabited National Park, Northumberland National Park is the perfect place for a stroll, a brisk walk, a run or a cycle to raise your heart rate and lift your mood.
As much as physicality is important, many sources highlight sleep, rest and self-care as key factors of wellness. Many of Northumberland’s characteristic country houses have been transformed into Edwardian-style spa hotels that offer excellent opportunity for rest and recuperation. One example is Slaley Hall, with its idyllic setting and tranquil spa. Head there to indulge your body and, in turn, your mind, with their bubbling Jacuzzi, warming sauna and pampering treatments.
Visit Northumberland this Mental Health Week, a place of community, discovery, beauty, tranquillity and relaxation, and learn the method to our mindfulness.