Durham Wildlife Trust has outlined ways in which people can use nature to reduce their stress levels as part of Stress Awareness Month, which runs throughout April.

Stress Awareness Month, which has been held every April since 1992, sees health care professionals and health promotion experts join forces to increase awareness of the causes and cures for stress. The event is Sponsored by The Health Resource Network, a non-profit health education organisation.

To mark the event, Durham Wildlife Trust Communications Assistant Abbie Osguthorpe has produced a guide to five ways in which Nature can help people de-stress.

She said: “Stuck inside after a cold and dark winter, we can too often forget what it feels like to enjoy the gift of nature and wildlife. By doing things like taking a walk in one of our reserves, volunteering for conservation work or even just doing some gardening a couple of times a week, people can enjoy the beauty of wildlife. Being out in the open soothes your mind and exercises the body.”

The guide includes:

1. Take a walk at one of the Trust’s nature reserves. A full list of Durham Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves can be found at durhamwt.com/reserves/

2. Try Wild Yoga at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve, near Houghton le Spring. Taking place every Tuesday, Wild Yoga is the perfect way to de-stress with nature. Studies have shown that yoga helps with depression, anxiety and even insomnia. More information is available from roymoor4@aol.com

3. Volunteering opportunities with Durham Wildlife Trust help people take a break from everyday life through conservation activities. Find out more at: durhamwt.com/volunteer/

4. Gardening can help reduce stress by being around aesthetically-pleasing plants and spending time caring for something else. If you can’t get outside, having indoor plants is a great way of keeping your stress levels low. If you’ve got a back yard, you can still make it wildlife friendly. More information is available at durhamwt.com/how-to-support-wildlife-in-your-back-yard/

5. Spending time with nature helps you focus. By taking a walk in the forest or by doing a spot of bird watching, your ability to concentrate increases as you focus less on being stressed and become more focused on the goals in your life.