Since the first lockdown, no matter the weather, being outside has meant more to me than ever. This is despite me being someone who has always preferred the indoors, only venturing outside if it is completely necessary.

 When lockdown restrictions came into action, I found myself valuing my daily walks more and more with each day that passed. I have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and am often left with a feeling that I will get ill or that something bad will happen to me. Before lockdown I would often struggle to find the energy to go outside without being pre-occupied by the anxious thoughts going through my head.

As the year since the first lockdown has passed, I have noticed that I have begun dedicating my daily walks to being more mindful of what’s around me. This wasn’t easy and it took time.

I remember that one day I went to watch the sunrise, but the fog and mist clouded my view. As I walked home, disappointed to have missed the sunrise, the fog began to lift. I found myself reflecting on a message someone had once sent me. The message said that even on a sunny day, the sun is still there, shining behind the clouds, just waiting for the right moment to break through. This reminded me that things have a habit of working out, it just takes the right condition.

A mental health recovery journey can be long with many hurdles. But it’s a worthwhile one. After a weekend that seemed to go on forever, today felt like a step forward in the right direction and I can see the sun starting to filter through the clouds.

10 – 16 May 2021 is Mental Health Awareness Week. It is a chance for us to work together towards a world of better mental health. The theme this week is nature and the positive effect it can have on our mental health, a great message to share after a year of lockdown.

You can find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week below: