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Welcome to the second day of Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Each day there will be things for you to try to support your own wellbeing, daily live talks that you can join (or watch afterwards) from inspiring speakers who will be sharing insights from their life experiences, a series of challenges to help you connect more with nature, and some brilliant work from our Media Learning Company course giving students' views on mental health.  

Taking care of our mental health, and looking out for those around us, is so important. There is something for everyone during Mental Health Awareness Week. Get involved, explore the resources, listen to the experiences of others, and make some time for your mental health and wellbeing this week.   

Try This: Journaling

Yesterday, we invited you to try a short meditation. Today, we are encouraging you to find out how journaling can really help your mental health and wellbeing.

Journaling is a wonderful tool for helping with anxiety and depression and many people journal each day to relieve stress and to understand what they are grateful for. 

Rashawnda's video below includes the benefits of journalling for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, confidence issues, anger and other mental health conditions.

Journalling is not a 'quick fix' for mental health, but it can certainly aid you in understanding yourself, your thoughts and your emotions.  

Connect with Nature Challenge: Make a Bug Hotel

Today's challenge is to make a bug hotel for your garden, balcony or doorstep. By building your bug hotel you could shelter anything from hedgehogs, toads, solitary bees, ladybirds, woodlice, dragonflies and small mammals. 

You most likely already have all you need laying around such as: straw, hollow plant stems, old wooden pallets, dry leaves, pinecones, old pots, soil, among many of other things. Click here for a step-by-step guide to making a bug hotel, there is also a video too.

Let us know how you get on: If you feel like sharing your experience of this challenge on social media, use the hashtags #mentalhealthawarenessweek #connectwithnature - and don't forget to tag the college in your post!

Live Talk: Jane Hannah and Oliver Sanham

Today's guest speakers are Jane Hannah from Healthier, Happier You and Oliver Sanham from Treekly. 

Jane discussed her journey from being furloughed due to coronavirus to building up a successful wellness business. Jane works tremendously with people and is passionate about incorporating the 3 M's into your lifestyle: Movement, Motivation and Mindset.

Oliver explained the new app 'Treekly' that is now available to download and gave us some ideas on how to use the app and how the organisation allows us to minimise our carbon footprint. The app is excellent in motivating us to not only go for outdoor fresh air daily, but if you walk 5,000 steps 5 times a week, Treekly will plant trees on your behalf! 

Oliver was able to share one of his favourite resources, A Praise of Walking, a book that demonstrates the science behind walking and how it benefits us. 

If you have been able to catch up with the recording, it would be appreciated if you would take part in the very short feedback form so that we can work on making improvements. 

Connect with Nature Challenge: Hug a tree! 

Ellen Mary (a guest speaker on Friday!), has set up an excellent Wellbeing Studio filled with resources on nature and wellbeing.  

Many of us unfortunately have not been able to hug our loved ones for the past year, but did you know that hugging a tree releases the same hormones that are triggered when we hug a human? This includes oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, making us feel calmer and happier. 

Watch this video about the benefits of tree hugging, go out and find a favourite tree, hug this, and think of your loved ones that you are unable to see at the moment. 

Let us know how you get on: If you feel like sharing your experience of this challenge on social media, use the hashtags #mentalhealthawarenessweek #connectwithnature - and don't forget to tag the college in your post!  

A Student View on Mental Health: You Are Not Alone

There are times when we can all feel stressed, overwhelmed and trapped inside our heads. This work by Media Learning Company student Lisa reminds us that we are not alone in feeling this way. If you can talk to someone about how you are feeling, the chances are that they will understand - and those thoughts and feelings will no longer be trapped in your head.       

To see more work on mental health from our Media Learning Company students, click here. 

Connect with Nature Challenge: Regrow your own Vegetables

Why buy seeds when you can regrow the vegetables you have already bought?  The easiest vegetables to regrow over and over and over again are: green onions, celery, romaine lettuce, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, leeks, basil, mint and potatoes. 

Not only will you be saving money, you will be reducing your carbon footprint and having the responsibility for looking after them. This is accessible to all and there is no need to have a garden or growing space for many of these varieties, just some kitchen counter top space. 

It really is an easy task to complete but one that once you have begun, you will never want to stop.

Let us know how you get on: If you feel like sharing your experience of this challenge on social media, use the hashtags #mentalhealthawarenessweek #connectwithnature - and don't forget to tag the college in your post!