10 ways Norfolk can help improve your wellbeing
- Credit: Kezia Everson
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (May 9-15), Holly Louise Eells shares 10 ways Norfolk can be the perfect place to boost your mood and wellbeing all year round
Feed the mind
Eating well can do wonders for our mental health. Jane Rose-Land, nutritionist and founder of Nutrition in Norfolk says: “Our mind and body are orchestrated together. Eat food as close to how nature intended as possible to support the health of the body and thereby the mind." Norfolk is renowned for its fresh, seasonal produce so take advantage of the array of fruits and vegetables on your doorstep.
Want escapism? Eliot Lyne, CEO of Norfolk Wildlife Trust says: "As well as protecting and restoring some of the most amazing wild places in the UK, we are committed to providing people with inspiring ways to connect with nature. From family events and boat trips to wild wanders and community conservation activities, there are loads of wild ways to feel good." A great way to relax and reset.
You don’t have to be the next John Crome to enjoy using a paintbrush or pencil to capture the beautiful surroundings of Norfolk. Art therapist Reshma Eyafe believes that art therapy helps us work with our emotions. She says,: "Therapy can take place in a variety of settings, and I try to deliver sessions outdoors as much as possible. Emotions are amplified differently outside."
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Love your routine
We all experience the physical effects of stress in various ways, but is it worth compromising our health for? Today, why not try an intentional morning routine; it’s a fantastic way to kick start your day. Sticking to a routine gives us structure and makes us feel more in control. Whether it’s meditating, journaling, reading, or a brisk walk outside; it is your time.
From coast to countryside, Kezia Everson from The National Trust in Norfolk says there are many places to explore and engage with to welcome the healing benefits of the natural world. "Experience the wide-open skies and huge horizons of the Blakeney National Nature Reserve, above a purple carpet of sea lavender over the summer or the riot of colour provided by the rhododendrons at Sheringham Park."
Catch some rays
The British Nutrition Foundation survey has revealed that 49% of adults are unaware of UK Government guidelines for vitamin D. According to the NHS, "In the UK we get most of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure from around late March/early April to the end of September." Get outside, take in the fresh Norfolk air and enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen!
Change your story
The question is, what makes you happy? Do you question what you can do for your mental health today? Certified life coach and founder of Journey with Ju Juachi Ezenwa says: "Ultimately, you are the author of your life, as such, you can decide to change the direction of your story and write a different narrative."
Animals are magic
Pets can change lives. Fact. As we know from the pandemic and witnessing the significant rise in pet ownership, animals work magic for our wellbeing including reducing stress and lifting our mood. So if you are not taking your furry friend for a walk, visit a local animal sanctuary as they need you as much as you need them.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will ‘explore the experience of loneliness, its effects on our mental health, and how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities.’ Did you know face-to-face activities, including volunteering can help reduce loneliness? There are plenty of Norfolk charities that need your assistance and in return, you will feel good, learn new skills and maybe make new friends.
As we have discovered nature and the outside world provide such a positive impact on our mental health but why not try new ways to introduce the great outdoors in to your everyday life? Go wild swimming in one of the Norfolk’s rivers such as St Helen's picnic site, Thetford Forest, or Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. Or, how about forest bathing? A gentle sensory walk through the forest using mindfulness, meditation, breathing, and walking exercises.