Perhaps now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to look after yourself – not just physically but mentally too.
Stress and anxiety is especially high at the moment but there are ways that our canals, and canal boating, can help improve your mental well-being.
Canals on Prescription
The Canal and River Trust are the charity who look after, and bring to life, 2,000 miles of waterways in the UK. They conducted research which shows that spending time by water promotes better mental and physical wellbeing. The Trust also revealed that canal walks are being prescribed by GP’s to combat depression. Here’s Dr Phillipa Moreton who actively ‘prescribes’ a walk on the waterways to feel better:
Wallace J. Nicols, an inspirational marine biologist, has written a book entitled ‘Blue Mind’ which looks at why water makes us happy. His book suggests that even a glimpse of a photograph of a river will have a positive effect on our mood.
Many people are finding that life on the water brings many positive benefits. In an interview with Waterways World Magazine, actress and equality campaigner Nicola Thorp, tells us why living afloat has been good for her mental health, read the article here.
Connecting with nature
Connecting with nature is not only enjoyable, it can also have positive benefits to our mental health.
According to a study by MIND, the mental health charity, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed and anxious to more calm and balanced.
In another study by Andrea Taylor, research on children with ADHD shows that time spent in nature increases their attention span.
Research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
How can canal boating help?
According to the NHS website, evidence suggests there are 5 steps to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Applying these when spending time onboard a canal boat is easy, and something to bear in mind when we can start offering day trips and holidays to our disabled clients again.
1. Connect with other people
It’s important to maintain good relationships for your mental wellbeing so why not enjoy life in the slow lane and take time out to spend with friends and family. There is no better way to cast off your worries, silence our mobile phone, and enjoy a truly peaceful meander along the waterways.
2. Be physically active
Our boats are specially adapted for people with disabilities so everyone can take part in the boating experience from steering the boat to working the locks.
3. Learn new skills
Our volunteer crew will show you how to steer the boat and work the locks. When you book a longer holiday, you receive nationally accredited training at no extra charge.
4. Give to others
Research has shown that acts of kindness and giving can help improve mental wellbeing- why not volunteer for us and give something back to your local community!
We offer many volunteer opportunities, whether that is to skipper the boats; helping out with administration; lending a hand at events or maintaining the boats. Find out how you can join our friendly team here.
5. Mindfulness- paying attention to the present moment
What better way to be ‘in the moment’ than onboard a canal boat.
For people with a range of dementia related illnesses, simply enjoying the sensation of the sun or wind on their face can be a positive experience and invoke memories.
We are happy to announce that our specially adapted canal boats will begin running again for day trips, short-breaks and longer holidays from 21st June 2021*. If you are looking for an accessible day trip, short break or longer holiday staycation to look forward to, why not contact us to find out how we can help you with your very own adapted canal boat experience!