Skern Lodge

Education experts are encouraging people, no matter their age, to get outside and get moving in a bid to improve their mental health.

The past year has taken a toll on much of the nation’s wellbeing, in fact a recent study revealed that the mental health of children in particular has been adversely affected by the lockdown[1].

This is why this Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16) experts at Inspiring Learning the outdoor education, and adventure specialists, are encouraging people to take small and simple steps to help improve their wellbeing.

Inspiring Learning has over 40 years’ experience in providing life changing adventures. This includes Camp Beaumont, the UK’s most inspiring day camp provider for children, along with Kingswood, which offers educationally-rich residential activity breaks for schools and groups, as well as Skern Training & Skills; which offers transformative developmental and leadership training from school leavers to senior leaders.

Inspiring Learning believes it is so important to build up people’s confidence and resilience and help destress through nature, which is something residential experiences and outdoor learning can really help with.  

Outside mood boost

Steve Anderson, Head of Activities at outdoor education and adventure provider, Kingswood, said:

“Research has uncovered the numerous benefits to mental health in being outside in nature[2]. These range from alleviating stress, anxiety and depression, through to improving self-esteem confidence and mood.  

“In fact, a recent report by DEFRA and the University of Exeter[3] shows there is evidence of a number of positive impacts to mental health and wellbeing associated with residential trips to natural environments. These include an increase in resilience and capacity to face challenges, improved relationships and enhanced social skills. There is also some evidence of increases in motivation to learn associated with residential experiences and connection to nature.”

Jof Gaughan, Executive Director at Camp Beaumont, agreed: 

“Studies[4] show the common pressures children have been facing including loneliness and isolation, along with worries about school. However, being active outdoors not only helps to shake off the stresses of everyday life, but it also has the added benefit of improving fitness levels, which has its own positive effects on mental wellbeing.

“At our camps we’re prioritising the mental wellbeing of children and making sure they’re given the opportunity to let off some steam as well as the chance to make new friends and be around their peers, which are vital in helping to reduce social anxiety.”

Back to work anxiety

The thought of heading back to the office can also be extremely anxiety-inducing for some people, especially as they haven’t been around their colleagues for so long.

Richard Thomas, Training and Development Manager at Skern Training & Skills, said:

“Having not worked face to face for so long, it’s essential that employers ensure the transition is a smooth one. The importance of rebuilding social bonds will be key to helping people manage stress and reintegrate with their colleagues. During the adjustment phase, outdoor activities and team bonding exercises will be crucial to helping people make up for lost time in rebuilding social connections.

“And, after months of working from home or being on furlough, it’s likely that new tasks or a fresh project to get stuck into will be greatly welcomed, not only as a way of helping to stimulate the brain but also as a way of resuming some form of normality. A great way to help motivate and inspire is by taking part in challenges and activities, all with clear learning outcomes, which may push employees out of their comfort zone and open them up new ways of thinking, and more than anything, they help people to be healthy and active while engaging with their peers.”

[1]  https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/connecting-with-nature-offers-a-new-approach-to-mental-health-care

[3] http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=19874&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=BE0128&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10%23Description  

[4] https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/

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