I’m very excited to share a special guest post with you all today from the lovely Hannah Read, the blogger behind Pages, Places and Plates. Hannah, like myself, struggles with her mental health and so understands just how important it is to take some time for yourself.
So grab a cup of tea, relax and get inspired to take some much-needed downtime this weekend.
From my own mental health issues, I’ve come to learn that taking time out every once in a while isn’t a luxury but a necessity. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, meaning that for just under half the year I experience a drawn-out depressive episode due to a lack of vitamin D. Whilst medication and supplements help stabilise me my self-care routine is imperative to feeling well enough to truly function, and a big part of that is getting out of my home and unwinding in different places that can offer the right experiences to benefit my mood. Here are my top five places to visit when I need to work on my mental health.
The first place I will always gravitate towards when my mental health has taken a hit is the beach. I’m lucky that I live just a minute away from the golden sands of the Sunshine Coast, and if I’m feeling particularly rubbish then I’ll take a stroll down there, or perhaps walk back from work that way. There’s something about the ocean breeze and that vast expanse of water, seemingly infinite, that makes me feel so raw and nourished. I especially love visiting when the waves are rough and full of energy, and watching them for 15 minutes or so really helps to ground me again.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with work and life then I love to take a visit to a local coffee shop. My favourite is Starbucks at around 8.30am, way before the crowds have arrived. I usually go for their refillable filter coffee so I know I can sit there for a while and lose myself in the chilled out music and coffee shop vibe. If I’m overwhelmed but still have loads to do then this is the best way for me to be productive and take care of my mental health at the same time – I love the environment it brings and I tend to get so much more work done, feeling positive and accomplished at the end.
Natural Green Spaces
The wild has always called to me, and it’s one of my favourite places to unwind. Being surrounded by natural things – plants, animals, landscapes that have been shaped over time – gives me a real sense of peace, and it’s much easier to still the mind in their presence. I have a nature reserve local to me which is my go to place, but I always gravitate to any forests or natural trails that can offer that same sense of calm.
Galleries & Exhibitions
As well as my full-time job and blogging, I’m also an artist (when I have the time!). Like the natural world, art makes me feel calm and relaxed, and it brings me so much joy to look at an analyse. Art galleries tend to have this lovely muted atmosphere, making them the perfect place to unwind and focus on something that is truly for you. They are also a place that I’ve never had any issue experiencing alone, and the creativity that they can be inspire is so healthy for the brain, and will often lead to me getting out of whatever slump that I’m in.
Beyond The UK
This is my favourite choice for unwinding, however it’s not the cheapest or easiest most of the time! I always make sure to go away at least once a year (and often in the winter, when my SAD has really kicked in) – I get a sunshine boost, which is important, but it also brings new experiences and inspiration, and a way to just chill out without all the stresses of home and work. I love exploring – it gives me this infectious energy that can completely transform my mood – and getting away from the stressful and fast-paced culture we’ve become accustomed to in the UK can be the refresh that I really need. It doesn’t have to somewhere expensive, either – my favourite place abroad to unwind is an island in The Canaries where we travel repeatedly on a budget – just being in such a happy place like that does wonders for my mental health, and it doesn’t have to be luxury or fresh to have that effect.
Hannah is the blogger behind Pages, Places, & Plates, a blog dedicated to reading, eating, and travelling. Her passion is sharing her experiences with others and helping them to make the right decision for their next book, food, or travel venture. She lives in Essex, England, on the Sunshine Coast with her partner and her Giant African Millipede.
Don’t forget to follow her for more brilliant posts that will intrigue you, inspire you – and make you hungry!