Birdsong, fresh air and green grass. Doesn’t that sound relaxing? Well, this Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 October) we all need to let nature in. It’s about strengthening our wellbeing because nature has a positive effect on both our physical and mental health.
Reducing stress, boosting our immune system, increasing sleep quality and improving creativity are just some of the benefits of spending time outdoors.
“Nature helps recharge our batteries and support a healthy, happy mind,” says Auckland Council’s Head of Parks Services Mark Bowater.
“Auckland has more than 4000 parks across the region, so there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. Whether it’s the local park down the road or one of our regional parks further afield, you can find tranquillity and respite in nature from your busy day-to-day life wherever you are in Auckland.”
Make the most of Mother Nature’s ability to nurture by going for a walk during lunchtime, kicking a ball around with some mates or simply sitting still, unwinding under the expansive sky. Here’s some park picks to get you started:
1. Victoria Park
This tree-lined park is the perfect place for inner-city workers to take a lunchtime walk or jog.
2. Auckland Botanic Gardens
Get inspired by the beautiful gardens and over 10,000 plants from around the world.
3. Takapuna Beach Reserve
Soak up the refreshing sea air and explore the series of reserves along Takapuna Beach.
4. Henderson Park
Get in your daily exercise with a round of frisbee golf or enjoy a walk or cycle alongside the Opanuku Stream.
5. Auckland Domain
Take a stroll through Auckland’s oldest park and its beautiful gardens, duck ponds and large green open spaces edged by mature trees.
6. Macleans Park
Take in the amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island at the top of the hill before making your way down to Eastern Beach.
7. Western Springs Park
Meditate in the beautiful Fukuoka Garden. Featuring a tea pavilion, a waterfall, a pond and more than 1800 native New Zealand and Japanese plants, this Japanese garden will transport you to your happy place.
Visit the Mental Health Foundation for more about Mental Health Awareness Week.