The idea of using nature to improve mental and emotional wellbeing has been around for many years. Our walks around the natural and green spaces of Greenwich present a great opportunity for this, in particular Greenwich Park which is beautiful and easy to access. With this in mind, GPV member and art therapist Julie Watson is working with us to bring the benefits of 'ecotherapy' to parents and carers.
As we walk together we try to be more mindful about the environment of the park and its effect on mood and notice things in nature, and share these observations with the group at the end of the walk.
This is not formal therapy and no one will be asked or expected to join in these gentle ways of deepening our connections with the environment in the park if they do not wish to. But it's something you can explore with us if you want. Here are some quotes from parents describing how they feel after the walks:
"I took time to stop and listen to the bird song in the park. I'd been worrying about the situation at home, being stressed and thinking about a meeting at school that hadn't gone well. Just being quiet and allowing the music of the birds to come to me, noticing the rhythm and the gentle melodies made the anxious thoughts stop for a while. I didn't have to try and it wasn't difficult. I took the calm feeling home with me."
The next Ecotherapy walk will be on 9 June
We will be meeting at Blackheath Gate, Greenwich Park at 10am and walk for about an hour
Images above: Top: Helebore noticed in Greenwich Park;
Bottom L-R: Pretty yellow weed noticed in the car park of Evelina Children's Hospital, Four leaves picked in Greenwich Park by each of our May walking group (with labrador looking on with interest!)