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Nature Matters

How a little dose of vitamin nature can help to see us through .

Author Richard Louv wrote a best selling book called 'Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder' I look at our current lockdown situation and my initial reaction to his chosen title is 'why are we just saving the children'?

I get it, there's a legacy thing but surely to save the children from an unhealthy lack of exposure to all things green, we need to put our own masks on first. Let's face it, before Covid19 there were many with a nature deficit in their lives, this crisis has now thrown in a stark realisation. Those that know me well will tell you that I am forever banging on about something in the garden, a walk I did or something disgusting, funny or both that my dogs or cat decided to share. I am convinced that it keeps

me level headed.

My soapbox (made of recycled materials of course) is well used.

"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my childrens lives may be, I go and like down where the wood drake rests in his veauty on the water and the great heron feeds. I com einto the peace of wild things ... I rest in the grace of the world and am free"
Wendell Berry

It seems so often that when you mention exposure to nature, many assume this means a hike across a national park, trips to Snowdon or more locally a lap of a major greenspace. For many now that is just not possible and for everyone else not currently sensible, so how might we best introduce a little Vitamin Nature into our lives without endangering ourselves or others.

Little things have a big impact

If you have houseplants, make sure they are cared for and where you can see them the most. They have a calming effect and also connect a part of your brain that responds well to their presence. If you have none, pictures can have a similar effect so looking up Youtube clips of forests with birdsong for example and allowing yourself to sit and just be while it plays can be just as calming.

Growing from seed can be rewarding, fast growing shoots like peas, sunflowers, marigolds, cress is yield fast results and can be ordered online for easy and lightweight posting. I think there are dwarf sunflowers you can grow if you lack space but want flowers. I didn't choose these so could be I'll have a bit of a challenge if we are still locked down in June.

Pets can help, I may have not agreed this morning when I was gifted a dead mouse by my tabby but mostly his presence is a pleasant and relaxing experience. There are numerous studies on the impact pets have on our wellbeing including blood pressure and heartrate.

Reconnecting with our senses can settle the mind and give us pause to make better choices and maybe not reach for the wine? The simple but effective 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise can have a great effect on your state of mind. Find a comfortable place (I love a seat in the garden or in front of an open window) name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch (this includes things that touch you such as your clothes or the breeze on your face), 3 things you can hear, 2 you can smell and if safe, 1 you can taste. In light of CV19 please don't smell or taste other people at this point. What this does is bring you into all of your senses and puts you entirely in the moment. Pauses those cyclical thoughts doing laps of your mind and provides an opportunity to choose a response.

If you are not a front-line health care professional, appreciate that you are safe and you have the gift to maintain your safety and that of others simply by staying put. We have never been so advanced as to have great science to find a solution and great entertainment to help the rest of us abide by the directions of those in charge of keeping us safe. Just imagine if we were doing this in the days of 512 kb dial up.

"I do not know whether it is possible to love the planet or not, but I do know that it is possible to love the places we can see touch smell and experience" David Orr, Earth in Mind

I may be preaching to the converted and genuinely hope I am, we are in this together. That's a worldwide 'WE'. Remember, even in the most urban environments, we can tap the power of the natural world to support our emotional and spiritual state. To that end I am going to transplant my sunflower seed sprouts to a bigger pot in the hope that we will be allowed out by the time they outgrow my kitchen.

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