One of the major benefits of modern technology is that with the touch of a phone people like me can record and log our every step (such as this blog!), the drawback being we often cant get away from it.
There is an irony in the fact I have to take my psychosocial wellbeing seriously, but I really do. I’m either reading, writing, cooking, training, working or some combination thereof and simply have to take time to factor in periods where I can wind down and not be so serious.
A simple framework I find useful is the ‘Nature Connection Pyramid’ created by the Nature Kids Institute (NKI). Life and business will run as usual like a broken record, unless you consciously structure in time for yourself, to break the cycle and play a little.
My monthly dose of nature for August was not to a park, but a break away with my folks for a fishing trip. I am not currently an expert fisherman, I do however love learning, especially if it brings me closer to a skill set we as humans ALL used to own.
Invariably, if you are open to new skills, leave your ego at the door and are willing to learn, people love offloading their experience and help you pick things up. Five hours, a haul of twenty fish later and the gratifying feeling of cooking up my own hard work is clear for all to see!!
It is a sacrifice we pay in a modern society of convenience that many of us have lost touch with where our food comes from; there is something very liberating about sourcing and producing it yourself, not to mention the superior nutritional quality.
Due to the quick ascent on a fishing line the fish are not able to be released as the bends actually kills them. I am not an advocate for hunting for sport sake, I gathered as much fish from other fisherman not so keen on taking their haul home. A little preparation and resourcefulness and I have a freezer of fillets to last until my next adventure.
Any left overs and there is sure to be a local cafe who will be more than happy to trade some lunch for the catch of the day. Yes to skill swap.
Being out on the boat reminded me of a game I used to play on the bus in my junior away rugby days, surfing. Trying to balance without touching the seats (while simultaneously fighting off your team mates), just swap the bus for a small fishing boat and the team-mates for ten feet waves!
Anyone who follows me on social media knows how important I feel balance and play are for general health. From parkour to dance to plyometrics (jumping), any way we can get some balance work in is going to serve us well in the long run (better at our sports or learning to prevent / fall safely as we age??).
I called into the annual Boardmasters surf festival as well this weekend where some of the best surfers, skateboarders and BMX bike riders in the world compete to show off their tricks, licks and flicks. Talk about balance!!!! I am a real movement nerd, watching Mark Webb’s acrobatics on the bike was special, check out his YouTube channel The Webbie Show.
I rarely get away with my parents (or dog) these days, so to spend the time fishing, walking, climbing and exploring with them is really important to me. The coastlines of Cornwall are some of the most beautiful in the UK and we made full use of both them and the weather, you don't see much sun in Wales!
One thing that was really apparent in these little towns was the sense of community that you simply don't see in our modern culture. It was a regular theme that people would grow their own vegetables, wrap them up, leave them outside their front door with an honesty box and hope that people give them their value. A sense of unspoiled simplicity that was really cool. With such narrow streets, it was irresistible to have a bit of a play around!
I think it’s really important that people have a framework and strategy to achieve a balanced nutritious diet without overeating and that's exactly how I program. It is equally important however to have the flexibility to be able to deviate away from any plan and live in the moment, to enable yourself to enjoy whatever traditional treasure wherever you happen to be offers. After all, what would a trip to Cornwall be without being able to fully embrace a traditional Cornish clotted ice cream milkshake, and maybe a pasty. :)
There is a growing agreement in healthcare literature that psycho-social factors are far more predictive of a plethora of health issues from chronic pain, stress and anxiety to depression than any laboratory or physical tests are. Quality down time with those you love is just as important as that diet plan you are following, or that deadline you have to make. It’s becoming more trendy for cafes and public places to promote ‘wifi’ free zones in an attempt to switch off more often. Make it easier for yourself and get away every once in a while.
What’s your down time doing for you??
Luke R. Davies