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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!