Throughout the day, take “minibreaks.” Sit down and get comfortable, slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. At the same time, let your shoulder muscles droop, smile, and say something positive like, “I am r-e-l-a-x-e-d.”
To manage stress you can: learn to relax; take a deep breath; practise acceptance; talk rationally to yourself; get organised; exercise; manage your time; have quiet time; watch your habits; know your limits; talk to others about it; practise visualisation.
Taking part in a nature survey might involve counting birds, animals or insects in a particular time and place, or reporting individual sightings of wildlife. Annual surveys include the Big Garden Birdwatch and the Big Butterfly Count.
If you don’t have a dog and would like to spend time with one, you can offer to be a pet sitter in your local neighbourhood, volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter, or ask to borrow a friend’s dog for occasional evening or weekend walks.
To help connect with animals, you can watch out for wildlife. If you don’t live near open countryside, try visiting a local park to look for squirrels, fish, insects, ducks and other birds. Visit a local community or city farm and help out by volunteering.
You can get out into nature and help the environment by going on a litter-picking walk, volunteering for a conservation project, planting helpful seeds such as berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bees, or building an animal habitat.
Hill walking or camping can help to reduce depression and anxiety. When out in nature, you will be focused on staying warm, fed, watered, and knowing where you are, leaving your mind free of daily stresses so you can spend your time being in the moment.
It is important for you to find a healthy way to deal with your feelings before they become overwhelming. Some options include: express yourself creatively, keep a diary or journal, talk to someone, or seek professional help.
If you have flashbacks of a stressful event, have bad dreams, lose your appetite or sleep, or become distant from day-to-day activities and these experiences persist, you may want to consult your doctor, a counsellor, or other mental health professional.