As part of University Mental Health Day on the 3 March, we wanted to share some of our top tips for things you can do to help improve your mental health.
Get into nature
We’re really lucky that our city is full of wonderful green spaces. Sometimes being around nature can help settle a busy mind and Spring is just peeping around the corner so there will be a lot to see. Some favourite places include the Bristol Botanic Garden, the Downs and just over the bridge, you have Leigh Woods. If you want to go a little further afield then just up the M4 is Westonbirt Arboretum, containing some amazing species of plants and trees (they also offer a student discount!) If you want to see a little piece of California, head to the Redwood grove in Ashton Court, just down from the mansion house. Sitting amongst these giant trees is strangely calming.
Getting outside for a run or jog can be a great way to relieve daily stress and boost your mental wellbeing. If you’re new to running, Couch to 5k is a great place to start. Alternatively, you could try out one of Bristol’s many Parkruns including Ashton Court and Eastville Park which start at 9 am every Saturday. If you’re struggling with motivation, try setting yourself a running goal, such as a 5k race and make sure you check out the Bristol Run Series.
Exercise your green fingers
Studies have shown that keeping indoor plants can boost feelings of wellbeing, with many plants having useful additional properties such as air purification, calming and improving cognitive function. Also looking after a plant is a good reminder to look after ourselves, to stay hydrated, get some fresh air and some sunlight. They also serve as a reminder that even after wilting they can spring back and continue to grow.
Low maintenance plants include: Spider plants, Aloe Vera, Snake plants and Pathos. Also, don’t forget about herbs, you can keep chives, basil, rosemary in a small window box.
Wildlife for wellbeing
As a city you may not think that Bristol would be the greatest place for wildlife spotting, outside of urban foxes, seagulls and pigeons, what else is there? Places like Arnos Vale, Conham River Park, Ashton Court Estate and the Avon Gorge are teeming with wildlife, from deer, voles, birds, and squirrels to perhaps the unexpected, goats, lizards, weasels and the odd seal. Bristol is also home to thousands of pet dogs so you will probably encounter some furry four-legged friends on any walks around the city.