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The Importance of Nature on our Wellbeing

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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and for 2021 the Mental Health Foundation has made ‘nature’ its theme.

Access to nature and the great outdoors is crucial for our mental health and the past year has only amplified this.

From huge forests, oceans and rivers, to local parks and gardens, and even window boxes and house plants, you can find nature wherever you are. Manchester city centre is full of nature and you don’t have to look very hard to find it. If you fancy heading into the city this week, here’s some of the most amazing outdoor green spaces on our doorstep. We’ve got plenty of takeaway coffee and cake to keep you going on your travels!

We asked our followers on Instagram where their favourite place to find nature is in the city centre. The results are in and top of the list is the beautiful Cathedral Gardens with 36% of the vote.

Cathedral Gardens

Cathedral Gardens, known to some as the ‘Medieval Quarter’ is surrounded by some of the city centre’s most impressive buildings including Victoria railway station, the Corn Exchange, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. This wide open space provides a green oasis within the busy city centre. At the heart of the gardens is a specially designed water feature which incorporates designs reflecting the seasons throughout the year.

Cathedral Gardens is a short 2 minute walk from the Arndale and the perfect place to sit down with a coffee and a bite to eat after a long day of shopping or a busy shift. It is important to rest your body and mind as part of a busy day and this garden is the perfect place to do this.

Image Credit- @babelfishuk (IG)

Sackville Gardens

Sackville Gardens, is a small park located at the heart of the gay village which features memorials and space to reflect. Sackville is famously home to the Alan Turing Memorial, in honour of the celebrated wartime code-breaker whose contribution to The Second World War saved millions of lives.

The Alan Turing Memorial is used as a meeting point each morning for free walking tours of Manchester, where you can discover Manchester’s top-attractions as well as hidden gems. This walking tour is the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and meet new people. Regularly meeting up with friends to chat and get some gentle exercise is a great way to boost your energy levels.

You can find out more on the free walking tours here.

Image Credit- @manc_wanderer (IG)

Parsonage Gardens

Parsonage Gardens is a quiet spot set back from one of Manchester’s busiest streets. It is tucked behind House of Fraser and has always been a popular spot for nearby office workers to peacefully retreat from the hustle and bustle of Deansgate.

If you work around the Deansgate area (or will be back in the office soon!) Parsonage Gardens is the perfect outdoor space to visit on your lunch break. Getting away from the screen and allowing your eyes some down time will prevent eye strain and reduce headaches. Going outdoors is also the easiest way to get vitamin D which can be linked to mental health. It doesn’t have to be 25 degrees outside to feel the benefits either!

Image Credit- @havsnaps (IG)

New Islington Marina

Just five minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, New Islington Marina is a hidden oasis of calm waterways surrounded by canal paths and grassy parkland. The marina comprises two basins which connect with the Rochdale Canal and Ashton Canal and was voted one of the top ten best places to live in the country by The Sunday Times. At the heart of the marina is Cotton Field Park, a spot of nature and an idyllic water park within the urban environment.

The park is used daily by families and people for fitness, dog walking and picnics. You can relax and sit by the seating areas, amongst the trees and floating wildlife. Taking advantage of the green open space by doing exercise such as walking or running will have a lasting positive effect on your mental health. It will help you become more active improving your physical health and therefore your mental health.

Image Credit- @ilovemanchester

It’s as important to look after your mental health as it is to look after your body. Good mental health and wellbeing is essential to living a happy and healthy life. More information on expert advice, help and support for mental health issues can be found here.