Today, April 22nd is Earth Day. The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. Over the last few weeks we have seen startling evidence of the impact our actions as a whole have on our environment. While we are pausing our lives and staying inside to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, all over the world there have been signs that the earth is repairing itself. From New Delhi to Milan, some of the world’s most polluted cities are becoming cleaner and greener.
With officials urging us to limit unnecessary travel, many of us might be starting to feel a bit stir crazy. Being outside and in nature is important for dealing with stress and anxiety—the exact emotions that many of us a grappling with right now.
Earlier this year we wrote an article about eco-anxiety and how to protect your mental health while campaigning for a greener future and in it, we noted how important it was the take time and spend it outside and to immerse ourselves in nature. While we need to be aware of and follow the UK government’s advice, it’s also essential for us to foster a strong connection with the natural environment.
Did you know that not only is being outside in nature good for your mental health, it can also positively impact on your physical health? Some research has found that simply being outside in the sunshine for 20 minutes can boost a person’s energy to the same degree as having a cup of coffee. There’s also some evidence to suggest that that breathing in phytoncides, which are airborne chemicals produced by plants, boosts our immune system by increasing our white blood cell count, thereby helping us fight off illnesses more effectively.
When Cambridge University Botanic Garden closed its gates last month to protect visitors and staff the director Professor Beverley Glover wrote “In this challenging time we’re more aware than ever of the importance of nature. The emergence of new life in Spring can be really uplifting, giving people an important psychological boost, and we want to share this with everyone, whatever their situation.”
So this Earth Day, our invitation to you is to make getting outside and taking a stroll a priority. Find some green space to be in, or a sunny corner of your garden to work. Spend some time tending to your house plants, or just throw your windows wide open.
If you’re feeling stressed, depressed or overly anxious we have fully qualified and insured hypnotherapists on our therapists finder.