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West Norfolk nature reserve launches wellbeing guide

todayFebruary 2, 2021 12

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A conservation trust and a leading mental health charity have created a guide to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the conservation charity which runs Welney Wetland Centre, in has teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) by getting out and connecting with winter wetland nature.

Launched today on World Wetland Day, the booklet entitled ‘Wetlands and Wellbeing: A Guide for Winter’ includes practical tips, ideas and inspiration to help people get the most out of their local wetlands during the long ‘locked down’ winter months.

A pair of mute swans on a lake. Pictures: WWT (44234071)
A pair of mute swans on a lake. Pictures: WWT (44234071)

Wetlands can be dramatic and changeable, wild, watery and full of life and during winter there’s no better place to enjoy nature.

There are also creative ideas on expressing a love for nature through writing, music and art.

There’s something special about water, with its power to inspire and calm us.

Research shows that spending time in ‘blue’, watery places in particular, can bring higher benefits than green spaces in improving how you are feeling, reducing both negative thoughts and levels of stress.

The winter sunset. Pictures: WWT (44234060)
The winter sunset. Pictures: WWT (44234060)

This year in particular, people have been connecting with nature in new and interesting ways and realising how vital it is for their mental health and wellbeing.

Jolie Goodman, from the MHF, said: “For millions of people, myself included, access to nature has been an essential way to manage the impact of life in lockdown on our mental health.

“This guide is an opportunity to ensure that more people can experience the benefits of the natural world for their wellbeing.

“This is echoed in the choice of Nature as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this May.”

Couple walking at Steart along Parrett estuary. Pictures: WWT (44234068)
Couple walking at Steart along Parrett estuary. Pictures: WWT (44234068)

Hannah Clifford, from WWT, added: “We hope the guide will inspire people to connect with wetlands and ‘blue’ spaces in more meaningful ways. Making a deep emotional connection with nature is more beneficial than exposure alone.

“The guide helps boost this emotional connection by giving practical tips, such as photographing spectacular ice patterns on frozen waters, getting your waterproofs on and jumping in puddles or listening to the trickling of a meandering stream

“Our WWT wetland centres are ideal places to take in the fresh air and appreciate what the great outdoors have to offer, but with our centres currently closed we want to inspire people to experience their local streams, ponds, lakes and other watery places and if that isn’t possible, give them ideas to bring the outside in, through creativity.”

The booklet is available to download from WWT and is part of a dedicated online wetland wellbeing hub that people can access for more inspiration and ideas to improve their wellbeing through connecting with nature, in particular, ‘blue’ spaces.

Flock of Black-tailed Godwits. Pictures: WWT (44234062)
Flock of Black-tailed Godwits. Pictures: WWT (44234062)

This is hub is regularly updated with new content and ideas.

For more information, please visit:

Some frozen thistles. Pictures: WWT (44234073)
Some frozen thistles. Pictures: WWT (44234073)

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todayFebruary 2, 2021 7