As Stress Awareness Month comes to a close, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the therapeutic benefits of spending time on the waterways. Around the world, rivers, lakes, and canals can provide a sanctuary, giving people a quiet place to take a break from the busyness and pressures of everyday life.

For many, time spent by the water Image of a heron in flight over water with greenery in the more than just a leisure activity; it’s a chance to reconnect with nature and find inner peace. Whether it’s the rhythmic lapping of waves against the shore or the gentle sway of a boat on a calm river, there’s something inherently soothing about being near water.

The healing power of water extends beyond just relaxation; it can also have profound effects on mental and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that being near water can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and promote feelings of calmness and tranquility. Research from the National Institutes of Health supports the notion that being near water can have positive effects on mental health and emotional wellbeing.  It’s a chance to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and reconnect with the natural world around us.

As we bid farewell to Stress Awareness Month, let us carry forward the lessons learned about the importance of self-care and mindfulness. Whether it’s a tranquil narrowboat cruise along a serene river or a leisurely stroll by the lakeshore, let’s continue to seek out moments of peace and connection with nature.

Join us in embracing the serenity of the waterways. Discover your own path to inner peace amidst the beauty of rivers, lakes, and canals. Here are some websites you may find of interest:

The Stress Management Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping individuals and companies recognise and reduce stress.

Find out more about the Canal River Trust, the UK’s largest canal charity, looking after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales

The Inland Waterways Association is a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country’s 7000 miles of canals and rivers.

Discover the National Institutes of Health research on the benefits of being near water.

Find out more about accessible canal boat trips with CanalAbility.