I cannot overstate the value of spending time on my own in nature. I love to take in the beauty and it gives me the quiet space I need to recharge my mental batteries. During lockdown, when it’s possible to be surrounded by family all day long, it’s imperative (to me) to get out walking or running and escape the noise of whirring computers, teachers’ voices and Zoom meetings (no offence meant to my lovely clients on Zoom!).
‘Green’ exercise, a term to describe physical activity in natural surroundings, has been shown to lower perceived exertion levels compared to exercise in urban or non-green surroundings, like indoors. So, the same physical performance requires a little less sweat and therefore feels more enjoyable. I don’t know why green is calming, but it works for me. I also read that ‘blue’ exercise is a thing, which is related to physical activity in water! Two of the most ubiquitous colours in nature – blue and green – provide stress-relieving environments for us to enjoy.
Spending some time alone each day may give us vital non-thinking time. A bit like meditation. A time to slow down our brainwaves, observe our surroundings and focus on how well our body feels. Letting go of all thoughts and being present where we are feels liberating. It might feel decadent at first, but practise allows us to accept that we need this time, we deserve it, and can relish it without guilt.
During the next few months, where freedom is limited, concerns about the virus abound, work and school pressures may seem never-ending, exercise and time on your own may be an imperative daily tonic.