The great outdoors

MINIMALISM, SUSTAINABILITY

Did you know that in the UK alone, 11.7 million working days are lost annually due to stress, depression or anxiety – but that this could be helped by something as simple as spending more time in nature?

In 2018, a report from the University of East Anglia revealed how exposure to greenspace significantly reduces the risk of a number of illnesses, such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stress – and that populations with higher levels of general greenspace exposure are more likely to report good overall health.

In the report, “greenspace” is defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation, together with urban greenspaces, such as urban parks and street greenery – meaning that you don’t have to take a trip to the countryside every time you want some peace of mind. Doing something as simple as taking a walk in the greener areas of town, will literally do wonders for your health. But what’s even more amazing than the actual health benefits of visiting your favourite park, is the fact that more people than ever before are spending time in nature! Recent national statistics published by Natural England show that the proportion of UK adults visiting nature at least once a week has gone up from 54% to 62% over the past 8 years.

And no wonder people are drawn to the great outdoors, as the previously mentioned study from the University of East Anglia also shows proof of time spent in nature significantly reduces the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can wholeheartedly relate to that!

Personally, I’m very privileged to live in a place where I literally have miles upon miles of magnificent views on my very doorstep. The North East of Scotland is such a beautiful place, and to me there’s nothing more calming than walking the hills and the moors, or being entirely surrounded by thick, green woodland. In fact, much of the research coming from Japan (where so called “Forest Bathing” is a really popular form of therapy) suggest that some of the health boosting properties of spending time in the forest could be explained by the trees releasing organic compounds with antibacterial properties, called phytoncides. How totally cool and awesomely weird is that?

Another place where they’ve adopted the belief of the healing powers of nature is on the Shetland Isles. For almost six months now, a number of GP practices across Shetland have been able to issue “Nature Prescriptions” to patients with chronic and debilitating illnesses, with the hope that nature will help them get better.

The pioneering initiative was created by a team-up between NHS Shetland and RSPB Scotland, resulting in patients with illnesses such as mental illness, diabetes, stress and heart disease are being prescribed a number of nature-related activities in order to help them cope with their conditions. The activities can range from bird watching to hill and beach walking – and are accompanied with printed leaflets providing the patients with helpful lists of walks, as well as calendars telling them where on the island and during what time of the year one can see particular bird species and plants.

I am no way anti-medicine or anti-vaccine, but I genuinely believe in nature’s power to help us heal. What are your thoughts on the subject – and do you think Shetlanders, with their “Nature Prescriptions”, are on to something?

Sustainable tech?

SUSTAINABILITY

In a world of consumerism, overproduction and the unattractive mentality of ‘new is always better‘ – can sustainable laptops even be a thing? They sure can! Just look at that steel blue Lenovo laptop, chilling on my desk.

So how come this pretty little thing can be classed as a sustainable purchase? Because it once, for a very short period of time, belonged to someone else.

What happened was that someone bought this laptop, opened it up, used it for a little while and decided they didn’t like it, before simply sending it back to the manufacturer. Once back at Lenovo, the laptop wasn’t allowed to be resold as a new product – meaning that it was pretty darn useless to all those people who crave new and shiny things. However, the story doesn’t end there! Because that’s when the Aberdeen-based tech company Everest Technology swept in to save the day by doing something as simple and sustainable as buying the unwanted laptop from the manufacturer in order to clear it, reset it and then sell it to me for the bargain price of £250.

And if that’s not win-win, for both me and the environment I don’t know what is! Sustainability ftw.

2018 year in review

LIFESTYLE, MINIMALISM

1

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW

two highlights

– listening to that inner voice

– pursuing my love of writing

two lowlights

 the high levels of stress and anxiety

the ones I hurt when I was hurting

one word to describe your year

change

something that has been toxic that I want to remove

self doubt and the constant strive for perfection

biggest area of growth

personal development

most inspiring project

AFFA BONNIE

2019 GOALS

one word mantra for 2019

– thrive

biggest personal goal

– entering 2020 as a wiser person

biggest professional goal

– developing AFFA BONNIE

biggest fear I have entering the new year

– for the first time in a very long time, I don’t feel fear

types of projects I really want to work on in 2019

– collaborations with likeminded people and writing for a magazine

number 1 thing I’m excited for in 2019

– the unknown

 

(the questions have admiringly been copied from Design Love Fest)