Town nature walks can boost your mental health

Kate Hull-Rodgers
Kate Hull-Rodgers

I’ll never forget my first day at drama school, writes Kate Hull-Rodgers.

I was sure I had ‘made it’, I was on the road to becoming a theatrical star.

In walked my teacher, dare I say guru, I sat on the edge of my seat, ready for him to espouse great wisdom.

I knew it was about to be revealed to me, the secret of being a great actress.

He took a breath and finally he proclaimed: “To be a great actor, one must first do a simple thing.”

I was beside myself with excitement.

He continued: “One must first commune with nature.”

Commune with nature – was that it? I was so disappointed.

I was looking for a protected secret, not some common sense idea that all I had to do was to go outside.

The guru went on as if he was reading my mind.

He said: “You don’t just go outside, you must BE outside.”

This was all a little too deep for me.

I left the class confused and deflated – I didn’t understand.

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But the phrase ‘commune with nature’ stayed with me.

So now, many years later, as the weather turns to spring, I often take myself outside and do something I learned since drama school – I commune with nature.

To me this means that I smell the roses, I see the clouds, I feel the breeze and I actively appreciate all that Mother Nature has on offer.

I find it nourishing and life enhancing (and I’m sure it has made me a better actress).

I just ‘be’ in nature” and this invariably leads to me going for a walk.

Walking in nature is like a meditation in movement and I love it.

Walking is one of my favourite activities.

To carry this on, the charity I am involved with, Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health, is organising a regular guided walk and everyone is welcome.

It will be a walk and talk – let’s get physical and let’s positively impact on our mental health by chatting as we walk.

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Walkers will be paired up with each other.

They then can talk about everything or they can talk about nothing, there’s no pressure.

Walks are every second and fourth Saturday in each month, starting in May, and the first one will meet at 11am at Marshall’s Yard.

Walkers will marshall at Marshall – sorry, that’s my attempt at humour.

What I mean is, they will meet at the big green bear by the fountain in Marshall’s Yard (his name is Marshall, see the humour).

Stepping Stone Strollers, as we are affectionately calling ourselves, will ramble through the pedestrianised parts of downtown Gainsborough – looking for nature and chatting.

It will take about 45 minutes and will finish back at Marshall’s Yard.

To conclude the lovely experience, and to solidify newly-formed friendships, Stepping Stone invites walkers to join them for free tea, coffee and biscuits in the offices of the Disability Network West Lindsey in Marshall’s Yard.

Come and commune, it will be a wonderful way to start your weekend.

For more information, contact me on 0775 4764491.