What having a child will do for your wellbeing
As someone who is well travelled and was a geography teacher for 10 years, you would assume that I’d be good at appreciating the great outdoors. Although this is true for those times that I dedicate to seeking out nature, I have realised that many days can go by without me appreciating what is around me. Living and working in London means that it’s easy to become one of the many, many worker ants that are fulfilling their duties whilst paying little attention to the opportunities available on the commute or when taking a break.
As the nights are drawing in and it gets noticeably colder, finding an excuse to stay inside and retreat is child’s play. Except that if you have a child, staying in every day is just not an option.
Walking anywhere with a young child really opens your eyes when it comes to what you observe around you. Children are amazed by almost everything they see, especially when it comes to the colours, textures and sounds of nature.
You don’t have to be on a long walk or even an adventurous one, the fun and excitement of them exploring really makes you appreciate how lucky we are to be in such a green city. Being with a child in a forest or a meadow or by a lake is a totally different experience for (usually!) all the right reasons.
I have been to the same stretch of Epping Forest 50 times or more with my son and every time he finds something new that makes him smile; whether that’s crunchy leaves, holding conkers, watching dogs darting quickly amongst the trees, or waving goodbye to the planes as they duck behind the horizon.
We are all busy. Busy busy busy. But taking a few moments each day to marvel at the intricacies of a spider’s web or some winter flowers will do wonders for your headspace. Is it quicker to walk straight to the tube station on the main roads? Then go through the park at least once a week because small changes in your routine that incorporate green spaces can really make a difference to your wellbeing.
Next time you’re off on a jaunt, however long or short, I challenge you to be more child and see the wonder of the every day.