During this changing season, there may be colder temperatures and shorter days but there’s still plenty to look forward to.  Take some time to get outside and enjoy the many benefits that being in nature can bring. 

According to a number of studies, getting closer to nature can have a number of positive benefits on our emotional, physical and mental health. As well as lowering stress levels, research shows that people experience an improvement in their general mental health and mood. Breathing fresh air can offer mental clarity and emotional healing. 

Mental Health UK give some helpful advice on how to manage the transition to autumn and avoid it negatively impacting mental health. And, mental health charity Mind have some tips and suggestions for enjoying nature and how nature can help your mental health.

Taking time to enjoy the changing colours of the season, as the once green trees explode into beautiful shades of red, gold and orange, may also bring benefits. An article in Psychology Today discusses how appreciating autumn’s changing leaves may change us for the better. 

Wellbeing Waterways and Wonderful Wildlife

Research published in 2021, commissioned by British Marine and the Canal River Trust,  revealed that spending time near water can be an easily accessible and effective way to improve wellbeing. Plus, the more time spent actually out on the water, the bigger the benefit.

Why not get close to nature and enjoy watching the myriad of wildlife that adorn the river banks and reserves found along the waterways. Amwell Nature Reserve in Ware forms part of the Lee Valley, close to the River Lee, and is a great place to discover a large number of wintering birds. You may even be lucky enough to spot one of the most elusive winter birds, the bittern.

Discover your local waterways and surrounding areas with the Inland Waterways Association, a charity who are passionate about protecting and restoring Britain’s network of canals and navigable rivers for everyone to enjoy.

The Canal River Trust (CRT) also have some excellent information to help you discover the waterways in the autumn and winter months, from beautiful bug and berries, to fantastic funghi! Read more here.

And, if you’re looking for some fun autumn activities for children, read the CRT blog Awesome autumn and discover wild treasure hunts and creative activities along our canals and rivers.

Why not spend some time exploring your local woodlands  too? Woods and trees are home to a huge variety of wildlife, discover more at the Woodland Trust.

Autumn is also a great time to build a welcoming home for all sorts of insects. Collect straw and hollow plant stems and follow the step-by-step guide to building your own bug hotel from the RSPB.

Healing Sounds

As well as taking time to look at the natural beauty all around you, some studies report that natural sounds can aid pain relief, lower stress, improve mood, and enhance cognitive performance.

So it may be time to embrace the season of hot chocolately mornings, leaping into leaves, collecting conkers and wearing those cosy jumpers.

To find out more about discovering the waterways on-board one of our specially adapted, centrally heated canal boats, see our blog here.