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Regenerate, Restore and Reconnect by Gemma Khairi

In a year where there has been so much loss and change to our freedoms, nature has taken the opportunity to offer hope and show us the way to regenerate, restore and reconnect. Where communities became isolated and human connection decreased, we saw a shift in mental health to a new level. No longer could the under-resourced mental health services be masked and papered over, and no longer could we ignore the quiet suffering as everyone during the pandemic was experiencing their own mental health battles. There was loss everywhere in many different guises, loss of loved ones, loss of freedoms, loss of physical connection, loss of touch and sharing. The only thing we had, that never disappeared and sought to continually renew itself, was nature.

The environment we choose for ourselves can take us to different places mentally and they can reduce or increase our daily stress and mental wellbeing. The simple decision of where we should go and what we should do can influence and motivate us. The regeneration we witnessed in nature when the world went quiet, be it climate change, increase in wildlife, and the proliferation of food resources for some insects, etc has reminded us all to stop. To stop and observe what is around us, what is truly important, what is there for us above everything else. What else can have a direct impact on our mood, immune system, reduces anxiety, and seeks to help us reclaim our mental well-being? Nature.

Nature is accessible to all, it is universal. It can restore what we are missing or what we have lost by simply spending time with it, or even having plants or natural running water to watch and listen to. It can reconnect communities and people and hold space for us to do so. It provided an infinite house for us all when we could not be together in person and encouraged activity and getting outdoors. Now as we come out the other side of the pandemic, just as nature regenerated itself and restored what they had lost over the years due to our overconsumption, we can learn from nature and seek to restore our own mental wellbeing and take steps to regenerate ourselves and reconnect with each other.

Gemma Khairi

Director - Helplines Partnership