How to hand yourself a nature prescription, and why you should

Hand yourself a nature prescription in the Forest of Dean and watch your health and wellbeing improve!

At the health and wellness grid, we use an integrative approach to your health. This means we don’t just look at physical symptoms or emotional stability and neither do we use just one tool to treat all people. We believe that every part of every person is interconnected and that we’re all unique. So we treat you as a whole and tailor our work to your individual needs and circumstances.

Having said that, there are some basic fundamental, and dare we say it, ‘common sense’ pillars that support health and wellbeing in everybody – these include restorative sleep, physical movement, supportive nutrition, emotional resilience and a daily dose of the good outdoors!

Human beings have strayed a long way from waking with the dawn chorus to work on the land until dusk. And while that life was hard in many ways, it was also healthier for us in some ways too.

pillars of health - the health and wellness grid

Nature helps with mental health

A recent report by Leeds Beckett University and the Wildlife Trusts, found found that people experiencing conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety, reported feeling significantly better – both emotionally and physically – after taking part in outdoor nature conservation projects. In fact, a huge 95 per cent of people who started out with low mental well-being improved in six weeks after working in nature for five to six hours each week.

The report – Social return on investment analysis of the health and wellbeing impacts of Wildlife Trust programmes – found for every £1 invested in specialised health or social needs projects that connect people to nature, there is a £6.88 social return. And when you consider the current financial strain on the NHS, this is something to get excited about.

If taking part in a regular nature volunteering projects such as habitat protection or clearing ponds can help tackle physical inactivity or loneliness, wouldn’t it be great to see nature being prescribed by GPs as a supplement to conventional treatments? Perhaps there will come a time when we balance the National Health Service, with the NATURAL health service!

health and wellbeing impacts of wildlife trusts programmes

Nature prescriptions improve health and wellbeing

Well it’s already been happening to a certain degree: Back in October 2018, Scottish GPs began handing out ‘nature prescriptions’ including rambling, beach walks and birdwatching, to Shetlanders with chronic and debilitating illnesses.

And we’ve known for a long time that there are proven benefits for hospital patients who have a view over green spaces such as grass and tress – they actually get better, faster! Numerous NHS forests are springing up around the country for staff, visitors and patients to use for relaxation and exercise, thanks to NHS Forest. The NHS Forest team aim to improve the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and communities through increasing access to green space on or near to NHS land – you can learn more in this video:

In response to the most recent research by Leeds Beckett University, Dr Amir Khan, a GP said there is a clear need to invest in nature-based services. He said: “If more people could access nature programmes, I believe that we would see a knock-on effect in our GP surgeries, with fewer people attending for help with preventable or social problems arising from being cut off from others, not getting active or having a purpose.”

Nature prescription in the Forest of Dean

So whether you need to meet new people, want to give back to the local community, top up your levels of vitamin D throughout the winter, or engage in more physical activity, why not make a promise to yourself to get into nature more? We have loads of ideas for getting you outside with this post featuring National GetOutside Day

In the Forest of Dean there are plenty of opportunities with forest bathing classes, bike hire to cycle through the forest paths or have a go at volunteering. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, offer the opportunity to spend a day in the Forest of Dean working on a reserve. The volunteering team are active throughout the winter on Tuesdays. They also have a new Thursday practical group in the Forest of Dean, contact them for more information.

And if you’re looking for more ways to improve your health and wellbeing, please book a session with us. You can find out more about what we offer and how it might help you. Whether you need to relax your body with autogenic training, find some tranquility in your mind with mindfulness, want to get rid of a negative habit with hypnotherapy or want to overhaul your diet with allergy therapy, we’ll be able to help you take the next step to achieving the health you want.

 

How to hand yourself a nature prescription in the forest of dean and why you should

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