Step outside. Slow down. Take a moment to feel the sun on your skin. Listen to the sounds around you. Be aware. Breathe.
Our health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to the environment we live in. Simply being outside and seeing some green space or big skies is good for us, body and soul. That’s why hordes of us choose to escape to the beach or the countryside whenever we’re blessed with sunny Bank Holiday weekend. Reconnecting with the natural world helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, improves our ability to concentrate and boosts our immune system. Even taking a slightly longer walk home through the park or taking your coffee break outside can leave you feeling recharged and reset.
But in our increasingly urbanised, 24/7 tech driven world most of us are spending far less time in natural surroundings than previous generations. So much of modern life is diarised-every moment of each day is planned out before its even begun and so we rush from one thing to the next, phone in hand and bombarded from all sides by near constant stimulation. No wonder most of us don’t have the time, or energy, to simply slow down and escape.
Luckily when we do have the chance to take a break even city dwellers don’t need to travel too far to find a forest, large park, National Trust property or nature reserve to get lost in for a few hours. But you don’t need to run to the hills for the day to feel the benefits of Mother Nature. Here are some easy ways to embrace your wild side closer to home;
Make time to just be
Schedule time as often as you can during your week to just sit on the grass and do nothing. Kick off your shoes and feel the grass beneath your bare feet. Cloud watch. Just let your senses adjust to their surroundings and take it all in. And don’t feel guilty about it. I guarantee you’ll come back with renewed energy and focus.
Ever noticed people who garden regularly seem pretty happy (not to mention fit and healthy)? It’s no coincidence; gardening is amazing therapy. Watching something you planted slowly flourish is immensely satisfying (I grew this-me!), and the physical act itself is very soothing-you'll soon find it’s difficult to dwell on a tough day with your hands working the soil, surrounded by the heady scent of roses. And forget the green fingers adage, anyone can do it. If you don’t have a garden of your own why not join a community one, or sign up for an allotment with a friend so you can grow your own fruit and veg. Or simply plant a window box or kitchen herb pots.
Bring the outside in
Leading nicely on to my next point, if you can’t get out there, bring it to you. Houseplants not only brighten up any living space with a pop of colour, they make you happier, too. Having plants in the house has been shown to help reduce stress levels, improve mood and increase productivity and concentration levels.
Take a dip
We are blessed to live on an island. Wherever you are you’re never that far from the water, be it a trickling stream or the rolling grey blue seas that surround us. I find watching and listening to water moving completely hypnotic and very calming. Sit and be still, observe and breathe. Or just dive in-be it swim, surf or paddle. Open water swimming is one of nature’s greatest highs, and there is lots of advice online on how to find your nearest safe wild swimming spot.
Photography: Claire Graham | Maria Shanina | Allef Vinicius
I’m a writer and content creator, working with brands to create inspiring bespoke content, as well as on my own projects. Having spent 12 years working at Glamour before going freelance, I now spend my time working with a diverse range of mainly lifestyle, health, well-being and beauty brands, on anything from blog writing, website copy, features and press releases, to e-marketing, social media content and campaign management. And while my average working day may not be as glamorous as during my time in the magazine industry, I love the flexibility of working for myself and the daily variety of working with new people and on different projects.
Having given up city life for seaside dwelling, if I’m not busy tapping away you’ll probably find me down at the beach with my young children, with a large coffee in hand, or with my nose in a book. Ideally, all three.