Walking…is how the body measures itself against the earth
- Rebecca Solnit Wanderlust History of walking
Where I grew up, behind our house was the start of the woods, there was no fence so we had deer in the garden eating my mothers roses and I often saw our cat being chased by foxes. We build tree houses and explored the woods often not completely without some sort of respect but the only true rule we had was to come back before it was dark but otherwise we could roam completely wild and free.
When I went to London and saw kids growing up slightly differently, nature was there but not so readily available and kids could not be left as unsupervised. I loved my time there but I always missed being out in nature, skiing, hiking or simply just walking.
When I had my own children I wanted to give them my own childhood, but found very quickly that times had changed and kids were not allowed to be as free and it was far less common to simply let nature be your kids teacher. I found a book - The last child in the woods - that spoke from my heart.
These are just some of the health benefits of spending time out in nature.
- Being outside in nature can help alleviate some of the symptoms of physical illness or depression and anxiety (alongside medication)
- Immune system boost
- Get more vitamin D from being outside
- Natural light normalises your schedule
- Using it to unplug and destress
- Leaving stress behind to focus on something else - it can be really good to go for a walk if you have a problem to solve
- Fresh air improves blood pressure
- Oxygen levels outside plus bacteria in soil can boost and regulate your serotonin levels
- Looking up at the sky in the daylight if you're sleepy it can wake you up, it also helps boost melatonin production in the evening which helps you get to sleep easier
- As we found out in this Eye Surgeon Interview it can even improve your eyesight
“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
- Richard Louv, The last child in the woods
There are numerous studies that show what happens to children when we replace nature time with screen time. There are also studies that show how nature can massively improve the quality of life for children with ADHD and often replace their medication altogether. So the reason why schools still spend most of the day indoors with kids glued to the table alludes me. But that is different rant altogether.
HOW DID WE DO:
Nature to me is simply a necessity, I wonder if it is because of how I grew up. My morning meditation is a walk with our dog outside. We again live close to the woods so we spend a huge amount of time there and we love to hike and go skiing.
I like to take the girls into the woods and go: Just for a moment, close your eyes and simply listen… I truly feel like it's my duty as a parent to pass on the love of nature to my children, so they will not forget to seek solace, health and peace there.