Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 activity

Our Time has created an activity pack to reflect the Mental Health Awareness Week theme ‘connecting with nature’, helping you to be mindful of your mental health and how it can be protected by looking to nature for ideas. This activity can be done independently, with family or friends, or as part of a school activity. If you’re a member of school staff, you can discover lots of brilliant resources and activities for schools by subscribing to our schools mailing list.

Nature is central to our psychological and emotional well-being. In the last year this has been made more apparent than ever as many of us have been isolated by lockdowns and unable to take part in the everyday activities we had previously been accustomed to. As such, green spaces and time outside of our home have taken on an increased importance.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 banner

 

Drawing a tree to support your mental health

Completed tree worksheet filled with good feelings and thoughts

Click to see the full sized image.

When you look at a large tree what do you see? Strength? Beauty? History? Peace?

You may not realise it, but all these qualities exist within you too and can be discovered through the following activity.

You may approach this in a number of ways:

  • By downloading and printing the tree outline from the activity worksheets PDF and writing onto it.
  • By drawing a tree of your own at a size of your choosing and writing on it – make sure there’s plenty of space for writing in the trunk, branches and leaves!
  • By working with others on a large tree drawing and filling it in together. This could be on a large A3 or A2 piece of paper, or it could be a giant mural. If you’re working in a large group, each person could cut out a leaf shape (printable templates can be found in the worksheet pack), write on it and stick it to a wall to form a giant tree made of your thoughts.

Once you have a worksheet or your own drawing of a tree ready, start writing onto it using the following steps to create your own mental health tree. For a visual example of this, you can refer to the completed example attached.

Download

Completing your mental health tree

The roots

Just as a gigantic tree needs strong roots to support its weight and hold it up through storms, our family and friends can provide a foundation of support to help us through good and bad times.

Ask yourself, who are the most important people in your life? Write some of their names around the tree roots on your sheet and something you appreciate about them.

The trunk

The next supportive part on a strong tree is the trunk, holding up the branches and leaves. For our tree, try asking yourself; what are your most important or happiest memories?

Try writing some of these into your tree’s trunk, perhaps with a little detail about why they are important memories and experiences. These could include holidays, achievements, journeys or just a place that makes you feel safe and relaxed.

The branches

Just as a tree’s branches spread out in multiple directions reaching upwards, we too may try taking our lives in new directions, trying new things and learning new skills.

What activities and hobbies typically make you feel relaxed, happy or a sense of accomplishment?

Write as many of these as you can into and around your tree’s branches, perhaps with some explanation as to why they are meaningful for you.

The leaves

A pair of leaf outlinesThe leaves of a tree grow out from its branches, absorbing sunlight through photosynthesis and sustaining it.

Much as this is the case for the tree, ask yourself; how do your family, friends, good memories and enjoyable activities sustain your mental health and make you feel better?

Write positive feelings you associate with all the other things you have written among the leaves.

Finishing your tree

Finished? Well done. Once most of your tree has been completed, try looking at it as a whole.

This is a representation of the good things in your life, that support you and make you happy. Just like a real tree, it is strong, resilient, beautiful and can be a reminder that even when things are tough we have family, friends, happy memories, fun activities and good feelings to fall back on.

Get creative, get inspired

Photo of a tree looking up into lush green branchesRemember that this activity is only an example, and you are free to get as creative as you like with your own trees.

Why not try making a collage tree by sticking coloured card on your paper or using stickers? How about drawing to represent memories, family and activities rather than writing them down?

You could even take a walk around some real trees or greenery for some additional inspiration. You could collect different kinds of fallen leaves to draw around or stick directly onto your sheet of paper.

Connect with nature and see what you discover about yourself in the process.

Download this resource

Need to print off these instructions for a classroom or activity group? No problem, you can download them as a PDF along with the activity sheets to print off.

 

Download

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