I already spend many hours in it, so I’m chuffed that Thrive’s latest free course explores how we can each nurture our connection with nature to create a deeper sense of wellbeing in our lives.
Cultivating Wellbeing in Gardens and Nature is an online course, but you don’t have to ‘like’ being online to get something from it.
I’m a face-to-face person when it comes to learning new things, so I liked its practical focus on nature’s power to help us each feel well and do more of the things we love, regardless of our individual ability, background or age.
It’s not called the ‘Natural Health Service’ for nothingKaty Perceval, Thrive Ambassador
Green space, blue space, indoors, out, country, town – the course shows the choice is ours, with useful materials that encourage an open mind and fresh perspectives to support a healthier sense of self (well, it’s not called the ‘Natural Health Service’ for nothing).
My favourite bits? The interactive exercises, such as the one that explored which of the eight natural environments I felt the greatest affinity for. Answer: virtually all of them! But if I had to choose, I’d want some water, moss and wise, ancient trees somewhere in there to make me happy. I’m not going to lie– I’ve hugged a few of those in my time…
The course also includes a simple writing activity but, for me, its greatest value lay in its useful template for developing my own personal Health and Wellbeing Plan – with real feedback from the course tutor, too!
As someone who already puts nature at the heart of my happiness and health (walking, cycling, chilling out and, of course, the lovely day I spend each week as a Garden Support Volunteer with Thrive), my own plan wasn’t so much about adding new activities (where would they fit?) – but about considering how I can get more from what I already love to do. And not letting things slip at busier times.
It also reminded me that nature’s potential to boost our wellbeing isn’t just about what’s outside our doors. Bringing it inside – houseplants, fir cones, pebbles, artwork, photos, pots (the list goes on) – can promote a true sense of calm, balance and energy too.
Cultivating Wellbeing is a good name for this course: it gives a new meaning to ‘growing your own’.
* Katy Perceval is an Ambassador for Thrive