One in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. Only 10% of us spend time participating in outdoor activities, and the average amount of time per day spent on outdoor activities by this 10% is just 10 minutes. Is there a correlation between these statistics? I strongly believe so…
Thinking about these statistics made me want to calculate how much time I spend outdoors during an average week. My conservative total was 38 hours…yep, that’s a LOT of time. But, very importantly, I’m happy. I don’t want much but I want what I’ve got, I think that’s important too. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to hear that I’m more at home in a pair of muddy wellies than Jimmy Choos and I have just one handbag. It’s functional, I put stuff in it to carry with me. It doesn’t go with everything I wear but I’m not bothered about that.
One of the many reasons that I’m proud to do this job is that we care for for some of the most beautiful, unique, historic, totally inclusive, living, breathing environments you’ll ever be fortunate enough to encounter. What’s more, you can do just that at your own free will, truly whenever you like. So please, for your physical and mental well-being, do it.
Grab your coat (and gloves, hat and scarf if you need them) and embrace the autumn weather on any of our waterways. You can stroll, run, skip, laugh, eat, talk or just sit and be still….it doesn’t matter. Take someone with you or spend some time with yourself.
Breathe in the fresh air so deep that you feel as though your lungs might burst under the pressure. Let the damp drizzle coat your eyelashes until it fogs up your vision. Watch your warm breath condense in the bracingly cold air so it looks as though you're smoking.
Greet someone you don't know and may never meet again. Watch the boats pass by, their bright chameleon colours a beautiful juxtaposition to the natural autumnal shades. Hear engines and voices ricochet through tunnels and cuttings.
Linger until your cheeks burn from the wind and your fingers are so cold you can barely move them. Listen to the hedgerow chorus music and study all the tiniest critters going about their tasks busily preparing for the fast approaching winter.
Watch the frail, dying leaves of summer past dance their autumn dance until they reach their final resting place. See it all as though you've been blind before. But mostly just let the tranquil water lap past and sooth your soul from the outside in.
Then you’ll know you exist, that life is real and that it’s all yours for the taking. Stay as long as you want to, as long you need to. Nobody will mind because it’s yours too.
Am I preaching to the converted? Almost definitely.
Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!See more blogs from this author