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Nature can be a big help to our mental health and wellbeing. This has become especially true during the last year and a half where time spent outside has been vital. And what better way to add nature to your life than helping bees (and other wildlife)? This week blogger Josie has written a wonderful piece on her bee-saving project, and how it’s helped her mental health.
“I’m Josie, a girl formerly hiding from the world. I have Aspergers and I find it hard to engage with the world and express myself. But I’m challenging myself every day by writing about bees and Pokemon. I’m really passionate about both and realized it wasn’t good to shut myself off from the real world. So, I built a bridge between the two and started helping bees.“
Josie is passionate about wildlife conservation and campaigning against the devastating effects of neonicotinoids (pesticides). These devastate bees and insect populations, breaking apart intricate ecosystems, including our own. Through my own work on the ‘Look Around’ book series, I’ve come to learn all about the world around me. Being an introvert with a passion for sitting inside, I, like Josie, have taken to helping nature in order to improve my own mental health. Josie got in contact with me at just the right time in my life! I hope you enjoy reading about Josie’s heroic efforts.
How helping bees can has benefited my mental health.
It always surprised me in my little corner of the western world how little we talk about our ecosystems. We’re taught so little about them in school, and we’re disconnected from where our food comes from. People in western society are used to relying on supermarket shelves and fast food places. We’re blessed not to have to think any further beyond that. As lucky as we are, it might be fair to think that this way of life means we’ve lost our connection to the origins of our food. It’s a huge part of our lives but we hardly think about where it comes from.
But with climate change comes the erosion and breakdown of ecosystems. This fuels the collapse of more ecosystems, an incredibly complex web of creatures that depend on each other to create the right conditions to survive. Even tiny little breakdowns on the chain can spiral to mean huge consequences. We depend on bees for approximately 70% of our food worldwide. But they’re fast losing ground due to climate change and the use of damaging pesticides (neonicotinoids).
It’s really hard to know how to start or what to do to help. But, one amazing thing we can do is make helping into a fun experience. Having fun with it means we end up helping, while also having a good time. Win, win! We’re left feeling fulfilled, proud, and even inspired to do more!
Turning a negative situation into a positive one is an incredibly powerful step. It’s also a therapeutic tool and improves serotonin, the ‘happy’ chemical. The effects of these positive changes in our own life will also be amplified in the world around us. Call it the law of attraction or karma – what we put out into the world will come back to us.
Humans are powerful and we have two hands that can do pretty much anything. The fact that we have that within us to exert at any given time is extremely powerful and totally awesome.
How this benefits my own wellbeing and personal development.
As someone with Aspergers, I’m the most distracted person ever. I duck everything and then feel terrible about it. There are times when I feel like everything unravels and comes back at me. I just need to escape into fictional worlds and characters and change everything around me because it is too difficult to think about.
When everything is overwhelming it’s just too hard to think and organise. That’s why I wanted to create a super helpful, easy guide to taking action. When something is put simply, made accessible, and laid out for you, it’s the easiest thing to jump on the ladder, so to speak. And it becomes the action you’ll most likely take because it provides the path of least resistance. I wanted to show that helping can be as simple and strategic as signing and sharing a petition. It requires little energy and effort to get started. Once you’ve done that, you’re hit with instant gratification and ready for the next challenge.
“When your hands are open, you can fill them with anything.”
It sounds silly but I never really felt normal until I realised that I had the same hands as other people. Since then I’ve made it my mission to create a simple-to-follow guide for everyone! I’ve been reaching out to people I would never have reached out to before. It’s been incredibly scary and intimidating, but a wonderful confidence boost. It’s amazing where just one little step takes you and how far you can grow.
A happy side effect is that we get to see ourselves in a different way. We become totally interconnected in ways we never realised, and it helps to connect us to our surroundings. Our link to nature often gets weakened and lost in our modern times because it feels like we don’t need to depend on it. But this is just an illusion! Science says that human technology must work in tandem with nature to continually ensure our success as a species. Therefore we can’t just put our heads in the sand and think we’re above nature. This will only lead to our inevitable demise.
Do you want to get started on your journey to helping nature? You can see my easy peasy, real and actionable list of all weird and wonderful bee challenges here! Got any ideas or strategies of your own? We’d love to read them!
Want to get your kids involved with nature?
Josie’s easy-to-follow guide is a great start! She’s also very kindly allowed me to talk about my own project to instill nature conservation and curiosity into the next generation. Look Around is a book series developed by both myself and Jude Rankin. The first installment is all about the hedgerows. It goes in-depth with information, fun facts, and cute illustrations all about what you’ll find in your local hedges.
The book first came to Jude during the first lockdown of 2020. While she was out photographing nature in the local area, kids would ask her about the flora and fauna. So, Jude decided to put her knowledge and photography into a book. I was brought on board as the illustrator in August of the same year and ever since we’ve been hard at work creating our series!
Look Around The Hedgerows is now available to purchase online at Jude Rankin Photography. It’s proved popular with children and adults alike, with over 100 copies sold in the first few weeks! That’s without the website even launched and strictly by word of mouth and social media!
Great post, loved the insight. and I couldn’t agree more, I mean do we remember the awesome feeling when we are gardening? planting new things, watering them, taking care of them? How does that feel? for me, it feels freaking awesome and I always leave my garden with a smile on my face.
Lovely article about bees. We do depends on them so much and their ecosystem is fragile.
That sounds interesting and amazing, thanks for sharing this informative post with us about bees. It’s great that you’ve found something that works for you.
Sharing is what makes us human. It helps calm us down. “When your hands are open, you can fill them with anything.” Do you agree?
Interesting. I didn’t know that bees were this helpful. I learned so much from reading your article. Thank you!
Loved reading this! Nature has always been a safe space for me too, so it’s great to see initiatives to help nature too! Really love the illustration on the book you did Nyxie, will check it out x
Being involved with nature is so therapeutic! I love the easy to follow guide.
Really important article. Nature can help our mental health in many ways. Thanks for sharing with us,
What a beautiful way to not only make a difference, but to help oneself! It is so creative and inspiring as well.
WOW! This is so interesting! I love how nature has helped you with your mental health.
Save the bees!!!
Love this – and congrats on the book! SO cool <3
It’s become increasingly obvious to me how connected we are to nature. Since reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer a number of years ago, I’ve been shifting how I think about it all and it’s been amazing. Nature and mental health are definitely connected and being a positive impact within it is a wonderful thing! Thank you for sharing.
I find that anytime in nature and any time helping others is very helpful for our mental health. I strongly recommend it as you clearly do too.
Helping the environment and ecosystem and being responsible is one way to help our nature. In return, it gives us something too. So take care of our environment and keep on sharing.
Sharing is what makes us human. It helps calm us down. “When your hands are open, you can fill them with anything.”
Sharing is indeed a virtue. When we share and help, it will go back to us a hundred-fold. Helping nature is a wonderful exercise as not all have the interest and time to spend outdoor.
I love this! I really enjoy all things nature and environment, and pollinators are special to me as well.
Oh yes! Your post has reminded me of this show I watch on BBC about food and the crisis we are having, in these COVID-19 times! There is so little we actually know about the origins of our food and how it is grown! Bees literally form the most important linkage of nature to ensure that we have some corn on our kitchen tables!
I really love this! When we do altruistic things, it helps improve our mental and spiritual health immensely.
I love that you helped the bees and the bees helped you! Such a beautiful read <3. It's amazing how much doing good helps us in return.
What an interesting read. So bees need our help too and in doing that, they were able to help you in return.
This is such a wonderful view on mental health. Thank you so much for sharing~
I love the story of the bees.
I love it! I think this is a prime example of how doing something for the good of someone, or in this case something, else can improve your own mental oultlook.
I’m so glad you found something that filled your heart. I’m also so glad that it’s something that’s so important for the environment.
Thank you for helping the bees and sharing your story. What a wonderful cause!
How wonderful that you found something that your Asperger’s doesn’t interfere with that is also a necessary and important part of maintaining our environment. I love that helping bees has helped your mental health.
What a great story! I’ve always been fascinated by bees. I think there are a number of hobbies that can help with mental health.
I loved reading this lovely, bees need our help more than ever and I love that this has helped your mental health x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Love this Nyx! It’s so important to give back, and that’s always good for your mental health.