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I’ve discovered wonderful green spaces that I never knew existed

In today’s Mental Health Awareness Week blog we hear from Liz Brooks, Managing Director for Social Care, about her love of nature and the outdoors and some amazing wildlife discoveries she made on recent walks.

For those of you who can remember the books and television programme, I loved The Moomins as a child.

If anyone is not familiar with the stories, the Moomin family lived an adventurous life in peaceful ‘Moominvalley’. Living in harmony with nature was a strong theme and came up often in the stories that I loved so much. I was captivated by characters like Snufkin, who wanders the world (fishing and playing the harmonica) and he carried everything he needed in his backpack. He believed that having too much stuff just made life overly complicated.

Fast forward a few years and this is my one of my T-shirts – quite simply, I love nature and the outdoors!

I won’t be alone in feeling that getting outside for enjoyment has not been easy during recent months. I live in a city, and I definitely took the ability to travel for granted before lockdown. But having said that, I’ve discovered some wonderful things this year – local green spaces that I never knew existed, beautiful parts of the suburbs that I’d never seen and a small wood that has the BEST trees to climb (admittedly more useful for my daughter than me, although the dogs do try their best).

I can’t say I‘ve always found it easy balancing work and enough ‘me’ time outdoors, but having a job I love helps beyond measure. I’ve always been an early bird, but getting up before anyone else has meant that I’ve appreciated some spectacular sunrises and some fresh air before starting work.

Last week, I saw something on one of my early morning walks that I hadn’t seen in decades… a very snoozy hedgehog. It felt such a treat to see him, and I excitedly took a photo before leaving him in peace.

This MHAW, I’ve managed to get back to the countryside, to some rolling hills and blue skies… the kind of landscape that really makes my heart sing. I hope everyone can take some time for themselves this week, however that might look.

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