I took a walk along local Calshot beach one evening this week. Some weeks it's hard to grab some time to yourself, this week has been one of them. It's easy to say 'I've no time" to do something, especially something that appears to be as low priority as 'going for a walk on your own'. Making the effort and juggling things about to get your self some quiet time is so rewarding though.
I was so overjoyed by the response to Nature Seekers, when I started it last week, thank you to everyone who took time to email and offer help and to get involved. Over the next couple of evenings I'll be emailing everyone back, apologies for not doing so sooner, Summer holidays and the family time that involves means I've not had the time I usually do to keep on top of things online.
One recurring theme that came up from people was how people suffering from depression have found being outdoors beneficial. Many moons ago, when post-natal depression struck, one of the first things my GP advised was exercise, 'exercise helps depression' I was told. I thought about this as I ambled along the beach this week, back at the time I remember thinking how exercise was the last thing I felt like doing, exercise required a level of motivation that frankly depression didn't allow. In hindsight though I had been blinkered in my preconceptions of exercise. Exercise doesn't have to be a sweaty, publicly humiliating lycra-clad affair - it could have been as simple as taking myself outside into nature and just walking.
There's a lot to be said for clearing your mind on a walk. The times you feel the most stressed out and doubt that you'll be able to stop worrying are often the times that you'll appreciate it the most. Walk along with a friend or family and you'll be chatting away but walk alone and there's no one, just you and instead of talking you look, look and see things that you might not have noticed had you been deep in conversation.
You start to look more closely at things and see just how beautiful they really are. Then days later you are in the car starting out of the passenger window and you start to notice the colours of the leaves on the trees more. It might sound a bit daft, but we see things everyday as we travel about getting on with life, trees, fields, nature but do we look, do we really take time to stop and look?
The more you take yourself off and walk in nature, the more you appreciate it and over time the happier that makes you feel. Over the past year I've spent more and more time outdoors, taking more and more photos and really stopping to look at things, making an effort to not only look at but to look for. As a result I've found that my photography has improved, not just because I've practiced more but because I'm happier for being outdoors and I'm trying to share a love of mine with people who might see the photos or read the words.
It's inner peace, it's watching without participating, it's seeing other people just enjoying being outdoors too - it's opening your eyes to just how bloody beautiful the world is to be in.