With all that the world at large has dealt with this past year, there has been a noticeable and welcome focus on the many diverse ways that each of us can help improve our own general wellbeing and health. This is a broad subject and I’m far from an authority on this, nevertheless, I realise that our wellbeing is not just a question of dealing with daily stress, but more making small changes that can quickly make a difference to our overall wellbeing.
Summertime is a wonderful time for enjoying the outdoor life. Over the past year, many of us have taken up or re-discovered regular exercise, be it yoga, cycling, outdoor walking, running or at-home workouts with Davina etc. Or, perhaps you prefer a more holistic approach, a gentle at home-spa treatment from Elemis, aromatherapy candles, essential oils or even re-furbishing your living space by adding refreshing touches from the like of Amanda Holden’s Bundleberry range. Whatever methods work for you, it’s clearly so important for us all to try and find the time to chill out, to relax, recharge, refresh and rebalance.
I have always found that long dog walks and my love of wildlife photography and videography help me to re-balance. Sometimes, I’ll try to do both at once but they don’t always gel too well, particularly as my youngest Bearded Collie, Ellie, will chase anything that runs! So some days, I’ll walk my dogs first and then go out again to take my camera for a walk – more exercise for me! Interestingly, I’ve seen a noticeable increase in dog ownership locally and we have a growing range of pet products available online throughout the year.
Few, if any, seek out stress and of course, it’s often unavoidable. We sometimes find ourselves stressing over something that could easily have been avoided. Perhaps we ignored warning signs, perhaps we didn’t fully think through a situation, perhaps we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to say no! I’ve certainly been guilty of all the above. More so than ever, there’s an increasing wealth of advice available from TV shows, magazine articles, the NHS, etc., offering various strategies, techniques and, of course, products to help us achieve our goals.
I’ve linked to a few ideas that are available at the Q that range from aromatherapy candles and balms from brands such as Neom and Scentered, gardening tools, wild bird food to supportive lightweight walking shoes. Some ideas may work for you, others may not, as long as you can feel or experience some benefit. It may well be a combination of several ideas that help.
I can’t ever remember a time when my friends and family have shown such a great interest in nature and wildlife, particularly the wildlife living on their doorstep. I’ve often been the recipient of playful ribbing from my family and neighbours as I strode out of my house dressed head to toe in camouflage, carrying my camera, tripod and backpack. Nowadays, though, I’m regularly asked to share my photos and videos as the beauty and healing power of the natural world seems to have taken on more relevance to so many of us. I’m sure I still look comical in my get up – but you get my point. 🙂
This April and May, I kept myself busy during my free time away from the Q. I spent many long hours out with my camera gear. I’m what’s known as a “hybrid shooter” as I love to take both stills and video. My latest amateur project concentrates purely on video, with the simple aim of producing a relaxing celebration of some of the natural beauty I found in and around my neighbourhood this spring. The initial idea was inspired by BBC 2’s wonderful Springwatch “Mindful Moments” segments. I’m a huge admirer of the skills and determination of professional wildlife camera operators and while I am never expecting to get close to reaching their standards, I still enjoy every minute of the many hours needed to put it all together – literally a labour of love, powered by nature !
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So if you also share my love of nature and have a spare 14 minutes, I would invite you to turn up the volume and let the glory of spring wash over you. It works for me when I need to de-stress, I hope you find it relaxing too. 🙂
One thing that I couldn’t have made the film without is, of course, the right equipment! Photography might not be your thing but perhaps you’re starting to walk or run regularly either indoors or out. Perhaps you want to re-kindle or start gardening, it’s beneficial therefore to invest in the right clothing and more importantly footwear. We carry a good range of walking and jogging shoes from Skechers that you might like to take a look at. As we live in the UK, it’s sensible to carry protection against the elements, such as waterproofs from Joules and protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays from Ultrasun.
Perhaps getting out and about isn’t an easy option for you, so you could perhaps look at ways of doing so “virtually” over the internet, or exercising, or pampering yourself at home instead. We also now have a varied range of accessibility and mobility aids online in our Living Aids section that may encourage you to venture out more too.
Whilst I’m fortunate that I am able to go out in search of wildlife, it’s also quite easy to encourage wildlife to visit you. Perhaps not a rare sand lizard, but many beautiful birds, butterflies and bees are quite easy to encourage into your gardens or balconies. Feed them, plant pollen and nectar-rich flowers, give them a little space and they will come… eventually! I’ve mentioned in my blog before how much joy it brings the whole family watching new bird species on our feeders, especially when you know they have hungry young to feed as well. Richard Jackson’s Premium Bird Food and the Grumpy Gardener Fat Balls have proven a real hit in my garden throughout the seasons.
Starting a new beauty regime, active pursuit, hobby or pastime is much easier these days with the accessibility of the internet, so why not consider giving something new a try and see how it goes? You’ll never know until you give it a go.
So the wonders of nature continually inspire and help my wellbeing – what inspires yours? How do you unwind and de-stress? I’d love to hear from you, so if you have a spare moment, please let me know in the comments section below.
I hope you enjoy my little film and until next time…
Take care, keep well and try to stay relaxed and balanced this summer and beyond.
Make sure to check out our Feeling Good Together campaign, where we’re regularly updating the page with fitness inspiration, wellbeing top tips and expert interviews to help support and inspire you throughout 2021.