The events of the past two and a half years have had a major impact on all our lives, but children and young people were significantly affected given the sudden changes to their education, work, relationships and routine. Many of our volunteers are young people who have been affected mentally by the current economic and environmental crisis. The pandemic also caused increased mental health problems in this group.
No matter your age, connecting to friends, family and others is vital to psychological wellbeing. But in-person connection can often be neglected or substituted with virtual communication or online distractions. These may provide entertainment but are not the same as in-person interaction. Therefore, it’s important to get people focusing on improving relationships and maintaining meaningful connections.
A relationship that has massive proven benefits and should be nurtured by everyone is with outdoor green spaces. Being out in nature improves overall health by boosting immunity and physical fitness as well as providing a source of calm and beauty. You can choose to connect with nature at any time simply by noticing your present surroundings. All our senses are stimulated at once in natural surroundings in a way that allows us to be mindful and feel more at ease.
Research shows that people with stronger nature connectedness are happier overall with lower scores on anxiety and depression. Nature connectedness also helps to encourage pro environmental behaviours in us which provide mutual benefit to both nature and our consequent enjoyment of it.
The Mutual Benefits Of Conservation Volunteering
Outdoor environments provide a great space for connection with other people, whether that’s meeting friends for a walk, exercising or volunteering whilst looking to make a difference (be that in the local community or environmentally).
Volunteering outside is also a great way to find meaning and connection through nature. Lots of people across the UK volunteer on a part time basis or from time-to-time. At TCV you can participate in activities such as helping the local wildlife, maintaining ponds, planting trees and even building parks so communities have green spaces. Check out our latest TCV Heroes, showcasing the best our volunteering has to offer.
Volunteering outside helps boost confidence and self-esteem. It could also help in terms of career as this type of volunteering provides valuable work experience and skills no matter what sector you wish to enter later. Many people who volunteer with us end up choosing to pursue an environmental career. We have opportunities to get involved all over the UK. Alternatively, why not try our Green Gym programme, designed to give you as much of a workout as you would get in a real gym while contributing to a greener world.
Take time to focus on conversation and connection. Helping people connect with each other, with their friends, family and people who care for them, and with nature and the world around them.
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