Green spaces – the fourth emergency service?

green spaces

There’s no denying the very real hardships and experiences we have faced and continue to face amid the coronavirus crisis – both individually and as a community. As the pandemic persists, and we pursue new and additional ways to keep ourselves fit, healthy and entertained during this time, it seems a fourth emergency service is emerging: green spaces. 

A plethora of research exists highlighting the benefits of the great outdoors on our mental wellbeing. Simply looking at pictures of nature has been proven to settle a person’s nerves thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system, which controls certain rest functions. Now, more than ever, we cannot ignore the power of nature and how it can help us. 

Many people are using the pandemic as an opportunity to improve their skills or learn new ones. Of all the things that people are picking up, more and more millennials seem to be trading Instagram-friendly succulents in for old fashioned green-fingeredness; putting seeds and plants into the earth and waiting to see what happens. 

Added to this, a large number of people spanning all generations appear to be favouring a walk or run as their daily exercise. With our senses heightened, a walk is no longer just a walk or a run no longer just a run; we’re more aware of every sight, sound and smell. 

This, by people’s own social media admissions, is not only helping them to remain grounded or find even a fleeting moment of peace during the pandemic, but also encouraging an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all the little things they once took for granted. 

When we come through this, and we will, I hope we see a seismic shift in our behaviour and continue to be more humble, more grateful, and more likely to notice and appreciate the beauty in small things. 

I also hope that we continue to talk as openly about our mental health and wellbeing, as well as prioritise it just as much as we have been during this distressing time, because it is and will ALWAYS be equally as important as our physical and financial state – if not even more so. 

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