It has become widely known that access to nature can have immensely positive effects on people’s mental health. With the arrival of lockdown over the last year, this has only become more apparent. For many people, being in the natural environment has provided a welcome boost to our mental and physical health and general wellbeing.
In order to explore this further, for Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Enzygo held a photo competition. The aim of the competition was not to submit the best photograph of a place where the natural environment was appreciated over lockdown, but to allow an opportunity to share the story behind the picture, in particularly, how the place helped that person mentally, physically or emotionally.
Enzygo employees really rose to the challenge and a flurry of entrants were received by our judge, Ches Moulton, the Stress Master (www.thestressmaster.com). Ches commented that “there was a level of disclosure that was cathartic and brave, and I congratulate all entrants on their willingness to participate and reveal a bit of themselves. I believe that it is testament to the trust, inclusion, and camaraderie instilled into your organisation and its ethos.” Enzygo would like to thank Ches for his sensitive and careful consideration of all our entrants and for the difficult task of providing our 3 prize winners.
First place went to Stuart Hutchinson, for an image of himself climbing at Millstone Crag on the edge of the Peak District, near Surprise View Carpark. He shared the following – “It’s a place I’ve been to many times and I have a long history with, having climbed here first in 1994 when I was 14.
It was more of a rediscovery in lock down as I hadn’t climbed here for more than a decade and the combination of nostalgia, great rock and a physical hobby that I love all combined to give excellent stress relief. Climbing is a massive part of how regulate my mental health, the combination of physicality, complex problem solving, risk and managing fear so that it doesn’t interfere with peak performance results in a presence of mind that precludes all other stresses or concerns whilst you are engaged. Millstone is also particularly good as a place as it’s an extremely intimate landscape at the base of the crag with stunning views that are revealed as you ascend the cliff. We also have used it in lock down to have a few late night birthday drinks and overnight bivi round a fire – another much needed form of stress relief.
This photo is of me reclimbing an old route I’d originally climbed on that first visit, it’s called Dexterity, grade E1 5b.”
2nd place went to Richard Hughes for his image overlooking Wharncliffe Woods. He shared the following – “Wharncliffe woods is 5 mins from my house and has miles and miles of trails. During lockdown it provided a place to ride my bike, get some fresh air and escape the stresses of everyday life. I feel lucky to have this on my doorstep! Also, mountain biking is a great way to escape as it requires full concentration on the task in hand so there is no room/space for negative thoughts or worries to creep in. The combination of having a place like Wharncliffe so close and mountain biking is the perfect combination to get regular time away from stresses which I feel is so important.”
3rd place went to Charlotte Whitham for her image of Wharncliffe Craggs overlooking Deepcar and Stocksbridge, with the Sheffield Enzygo office in the distance. She shared the following – “I discovered this amazing view over lockdown, and have been visiting every few weeks since. As this walk is quite a steep incline and takes around 2 hours to complete, my physical health has been improved, helping me lose nearly 2 stone last year! Walking also helped to maintain my mental health when I found myself in the lockdown black hole of searching for a job after finishing university.”
Thank you to everyone that entered the competition and congratulation to our winners!