Connect with the natural world
Spending time in nature has big benefits for your mental wellbeing. It’s also been shown to have wider health benefits like building your immune system and lowering your blood pressure.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy nature – you could take a walk in local bushland, go for a picnic, try kayaking or even do some gardening. Environmentally friendly activities like recycling and composting will also help you feel a deeper connection with the world around you.
More time outdoors also means that you’ll get more exposure to the sun. Sun exposure helps produce mood-stabilising chemicals like serotonin and also gives your vitamin D levels a boost, which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles. Always remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.
Find daily activities that you can do to improve your mental wellbeing
- Try composting
- Watch the sunrise
- Reduce your plastic
- Do some stargazing
- Try Photography
- Enjoy a meal outdoors
- Spend time outdoors
- Take a lunchtime walk
- Take a reusable cup
- Take up an outdoor hobby
Exercise of the Month: Gardening
Spring is definitely in the air in October, so let’s get outside and do some gardening. Plant seedlings, clean up the yard or clean out the pool, if you are lucky enough to have one. Here is the link to what plants you should be planting in your garden to have maximum enjoyment for the coming months. Planting Guide – Gardening Australia . Take a look at the Gardening titles available to borrow with your West Gippsland Libraries membership: Gardening Titles
The surprising health benefits of gardening
Whether you’re growing fruit and veggies, flowers or succulents, getting your green thumb on can have a surprising number of health benefits for you and your family.
Stay fit and active in the garden
Depending on the size of your garden, maintaining it can be also is a great way to be physically active. This could be as strenuous as mowing the lawn, or as gentle as getting a good stretch. Practice stabilising yourself while kneeling, sitting or reaching. In fact, gardening is a recommended activity as it can encourage the use of many motor skills, improve endurance and strength and keep you moving.
Eat your greens
Do you have a picky eater at your dinner table? Kids who are picky eaters may be keener to try new foods that they’ve helped to grow. Watching the plants sprout and grow and waiting until fruit and veggies are ripe and ready to eat can help build their enthusiasm and excitement about healthy foods. The effect works on everyone, not just those with hard-to-please tastes. Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs will encourage you to eat seasonally, add more variety to your diet, encourage you to prepare homemade healthy dishes and learn to appreciate fresh produce.
These days, we can buy pretty much any fruit and vegetable we want from the supermarket, at any time of year. But eating seasonally has important benefits for our bodies. Different fruits and vegetables are “in-season” at different times throughout the year. For example, asparagus and apricots grow in spring and summer, while Brussels sprouts get going in winter. Eating seasonally can keep healthy eating exciting by encouraging you to try new recipes using in-season produce. You will also get a wider variety of different coloured produce, providing nutritious vitamins and minerals in your diet throughout the year as the produce you eat changes with the seasons.
Relax and meditate
Gardening is also a great way to relax, providing opportunities to still the mind and get away from the busyness of everyday life. There is even evidence to suggest that gardening can help ease symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Whether you’re gardening by yourself, or getting the whole family involved, it’s a great way to spend some time outdoors, away from screens and to-do lists, and engage with nature. From repetitive tasks like weeding that provide an opportunity for meditation to practising patience while waiting for plants to grow, gardening is a great exercise for your mind as well as your body.
Gardening doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity – there are many varieties of plants that can be grown inside, too. As well as making rooms look nice, indoor plants can help improve air quality in enclosed spaces. Some studies also suggest that indoor plants can boost the concentration and focus of office workers. Not all plants will grow well indoors, so you’ll need to research which varieties will grow well in the lighting and temperature of your room.
Things to keep in mind when starting out
Different fruits and vegetables grow best at different times of the year. West Gippsland Libraries gardening section has a wealth of information on what plants to grow during different seasons and a guide to easy grow-your-own healthy foods.
If you’re planting an edible garden, remember that not all plants are safe to eat. Make sure you plant non-toxic varieties, checking at your local garden store if you’re unsure. Don’t use chemical sprays or fertilizers on your edible garden.
Always wear gloves when working with plant material, soil and fertilizers, and be sure to wash your hands when you’re finished. When working outside, remember to be safe in the sun by wearing a broad-brimmed hat and protective clothing, wearing sunglasses, using a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, working in the shade when possible and drinking plenty of water.
Mental Health Awareness Campaigns – October
Click on the images below for more information:
October is Mental Health Awareness Month
October is National Safe Work Australia Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Week runs from 10th-18th October. West Gippsland Libraries are proud partners of World Mental Health Day and we have partnered with Mental Health Australia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC6TN7oXbM8
October 21st is Ride to Work Day
October 26th is Pink Ribbon Day
Links for Support: