Spending time in nature

Nowadays, it can feel really easy to end up spending more and more time on your phone or laptop and therefore cooped up indoors. A lot of people find spending time in nature is a really important part of their self care routine. Some of them say it helps them to be mindful and appreciate life, others say it helps them see the bigger picture outside of their own head and thoughts and some simply find the fresh air helps them relax. It can include things like going for walks, spending time at your local park or beach, growing plants and much more.

Going out in nature helps me to relax and clears my mind.  It gets me out of the busy city and away from people and noise for a few hours.  I also get a feeling of achievement when I've completed a set walk.

There are many organisations which organise walks including the Ramblers Association in England, Wales and Scotland and WalkNI for Northern Ireland whether they are short, urban walks or longer walks in the countryside.  For some safety advice for first-time ramblers, please visit Ramblers website.

In this video, Kim and Liv share how being outside and spending time in nature helps their wellbeing:


What young people have told us:

'Spending time in nature is a great way to let go of stress. Even just opening the door and breathing fresh air can make me feel better.'

'Definitely spend time in nature if you can. It doesn't have to be for long. Just a 5 minute walk can make you happier.'

'Gave me a chance to get out of the house and detox from stress- like family friends and school.'

'Find somewhere peaceful to relax, breathe and do what you want - read or watch a video or write or draw or run or pick flowers - anything!'


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.

Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?

If yes, why do you think it helped?

What would you say to other young people who are thinking of trying this?


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Sign up with the Anna Freud Centre, the UK’s leading mentally healthy schools charity.

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