Category Archives: People

How can you get your family on board with a slower life? How do we engage with our community and make a difference in the world? How can we better spend our time with family and friends? And why does it matter?

Florence Williams on the importance of getting your nature fix

“We don’t have to think of nature as being pristine, we don’t have to think of it as being a wilderness area. That just makes it kind of unattainable in terms of our daily connection. I think that we can find nature where we are – we have to find it where we are.” – Florence Williams

In the perfect follow-up to March’s Great Outdoors Slow Experiment, today I chat with Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix. Whether you’ve been reading the book or have never heard of it, you’re in for a treat. Florence is an epic researcher and communicator, and the studies and anecdotes she shares today are both informative and inspiring.

Kicking off, Florence shares her favourite definition of nature: Oscar Wilde’s generous statement that it is “a place where birds fly around uncooked”. She believes nature doesn’t have to be wild or pristine to have an impact, which makes it so much more accessible, especially to urban dwellers. She and I talk about the importance of prioritising and valuing time spent in nature, as well as sharing some concrete tips for engaging in nature once we get there.

Then we dive into the benefits. Florence shares what she found while researching and writing the book, from the way spending time in nature makes us feel more connected and be more civic-minded, to the impact on creativity, productivity and mood. She also touches on the relationship between nature and technology, encouraging kids to get outside, how she gets her own nature fix, research on the minimum recommended dose of outside time and so much more.

This conversation only further convinced me of the importance of spending time in nature – it’s not a ‘nice-to-do’, more a ‘need-to-do’. And as I discovered during last month’s Great Outdoors experiment, I truly believe there are so many positive changes to be made simply by spending more time in nature, encouraging others to do the same, and raising a generation of kids who grow up both knowing and loving time outside.

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

The Great Outdoors: Part 5 – A Slow Experiment

“Let go of your expectations – what you think it should look like. Let the benefits flow as and when they will.”

I’m going to say this right now: this month’s experiment has been a game changer for me. Really, truly, honestly world shifting. I thought spending time in nature every day would be impactful, I even thought the benefits might exceed the wellbeing buzz I’ve come to associate with time outside. But I didn’t expect it to be quite so powerful.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I even started the experiment by reminiscing on my recovery from post natal depression, and the role nature played. My garden was the place I slowly remade myself, one tiny discovery at a time. I’ve known the power of nature for a long time.

In today’s poggie Ben and I wrap up our experience of the experiment, and chat about the wonderful (truly, wonder-full) final week of the experiment, which included birthday hikes, soaking in natural hot springs, snowball throwing playtime, skiing and discovering icy cold natural springs virtually in our backyard. I also had a timely reminder to let go of the “shoulds” and expectations of what these outdoor experiences would look like, and simply enjoy them for what they are.

We also look at the increasing number of studies finding a strong link between time outdoors and improved mental health. I wanted to steer clear of this conversation for most of the month as it’s always problematic to start throwing around the idea that certain activities and substances can cure mental illness, simply because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, but given the mental health crisis we’re facing in Australia and so many other countries, it’s a part of the conversation that needed to happen here and needs to continue happening.

 

It’s been such an incredible shift for both Ben and I, and I’d love to know if you’ve found it as transformative. Let us know over on Instagram using the hashtag #slowexperiment, or comment on Facebook. And also a massive thank you to everyone who’s joined us in the experiment – we’ve loved seeing your posts, and your passion and honesty in sharing has been inspiring. We’ll be announcing the May experiment later in April, so be sure to stay tuned for that too.

In the meantime, enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

The Great Outdoors: Part 4 – A Slow Experiment

In the immortal words of Olivia Newton John… “Let’s get physical, physical.”

We’re in week three of the Great Outdoors Slow Experiment, and in today’s poggie we look at a bunch of the physical benefits of spending time outside in nature. It’s been a pretty wondrous, awe-inspiring week outside for us, with quiet moments, play, some glorious snow and then even more glorious skiing. This week I’ve really found myself craving time outside, and Ben has really noticed the headspace that spending time in nature gives him, setting him straight for the rest of his day.

We looked at a whole heap of research on the physical benefits of time spent outside, expecting to find a lot about exercise and deep breathing. But I was really amazed at how much further the research goes. From positive impacts on our immunity and inflammation, improved vision and blood pressure, a reduction in stress hormones and even some amazing, preliminary results that look at the effect of plant chemicals can have on virus and tumour cells – it’s all incredible.

If you’ve been having doubts about this whole nature thing, I hope this episode will put them to bed. There’s some pretty compelling information in today’s show (with links to many of the studies and articles below), but put simply, there is so much to gain by making these changes, and so much to lose if we don’t.

And the hack of the week to help you commit? As James Clear suggests: “Reduce the scope, stick to the schedule.” So get out there!

If you’re playing along, don’t forget to share how you’re going over on Instagram using the hashtag #slowexperiment, or comment on Facebook. We’d also love to know if you’ve noticed any physical benefits – from sleep to immunity, let us know how you’re feeling.

In the meantime, enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

The Great Outdoors: Part 3 – A Slow Experiment

If you’ve listened to the previous two episodes where Ben and I have discussed this month’s experiment, you know that I’m already convinced of its benefits. From my personal experiences I can see that spending time in nature is calming and grounding, and brings a sense of awe that simultaneously makes me feel small and important. I don’t need any more proof.

Which is precisely why this week’s episode surprised me so much. I came to this topic of nature’s role in improving mental performance with the attitude of, “Well, I don’t need convincing but if it helps other people get on board then great.” But as Ben and I chat, and even over the subsequent days since recording, I began to realise that this element of the equation is vital. If we want to create workplaces and schools and institutions and towns and cities that value nature (because we’re all starting to see just how vital it is) then we need to prove to them that the returns are there. That students learn better, employees are more productive and enjoy higher levels of well-being, that patients heal more quickly.

Personally, I feel as though it should be enough that people are happier and kinder and more well-equipped to deal with stress after spending time in nature. That our focus should actually be on nature itself and how we can become better stewards of it. But I’m probably putting the horse before the cart there, because first we need to convince the decision makers, the policy makers, the town planners and architects, school boards and huge corporations that inviting nature in to our daily life is not only a ‘nice to have’ but that it makes sense to the bottom line too.

This might just be where we start to see real, community-wide change, where we may follow in the footsteps of countries like South Korea and Japan, who both have fascinating nature programs designed to help employees recover from stress and develop mindfulness techniques to minimise stress and improve productivity, as well as programs for children to experience wild, natural spaces.

There’s a lot of research that shows how time spent in nature helps us concentrate more, be more creative, improve our memory and do better in work and study, and Ben and I talk about a lot of it in today’s poggie (you can find links to most of it below).

We also talk a lot about creativity – a less measurable mental benefit, yet one that Ben and I have both felt a lot after time spent in nature. We’ve often gone for a walk and left thoughts of a problem or situation floating around in the back of our heads, only to find a solution or new, creative approach to try after spending time outside. In fact, every time we go camping we come home energised or with a new perspective on an old issue, and I really don’t think it’s a coincidence. As Ben discusses, this actually ties directly into the research about active and passive attention, and the importance of downtime for your brain.

At the end of the episode, we also share a bunch of ideas for those living in urban environments who are finding it challenging to get out in nature. These include things like:

  • Take your lunch to a park and eat it there
  • Find a patch of grass and sit on it – take your shoes off and pop your feet on the ground, see what it feels like
  • Make a date with friends/family and go for a picnic
  • Drive out of the city one night and look at the stars
  • Make a date every month and make that your nature day – no phones, just hanging out, outside
  • Buy a couple of house plants
  • Looking at images and listening to sounds of nature
  • Go camping

If you’re playing along, don’t forget to share how you’re going over on Instagram using the hashtag #slowexperiment, or comment on Facebook. We’d also love to know what you’ve found challenging or easy so far, especially if you’re in an urban environment.

In the meantime, enjoy!

 

 

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Rebecca Sullivan wants you to embrace your inner granny – Summer Series

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Hello, and welcome to the Slow Home Summer series! For 5 weeks over December and January we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite episodes from 2017, so we can walk the walk and slow down during the Christmas break. Also it turns out podcasts, just like fine wine, really do get better with age. Whether you missed them the first time around, or are having another listen, we hope you enjoy these poggies as much as we did!

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I came in to my research for today’s episode with Rebecca Sullivan, founder of the Granny Skills Movement, expecting to spend a significant amount of our chat focusing on her beautiful, most recent book ‘The Art of the Natural Home’. We’d talk about the importance of bicarb soda and the utter delight that is making your own ferments, why we’re seeing a return to the traditions of our grandparents and how it’s been co-opted in to hipster life. And we do discuss all of those things in this poggie.

But what became apparent real quick is that Rebecca is also a woman whose passion for tradition, heritage and intergenerational connection goes way deeper than any riff on green cleaning or sauerkraut could begin to touch. So we dive head-long in to a discussion about her recent pilot program that placed grandparents in local high schools, who then taught students home economics, wood working and other traditional skills. I loved hearing about the impact of this program on not only the kids, but also the grannies who were doing the teaching. It speaks to a significant issue in our society currently, where older people are often marginalised, lonely or left to spend their later years in nursing homes, their wealth of knowledge disappearing as they do.

Granted, that seems heavier listening than a discussion on vinegar and bicarb, but it’s an important one, and something I want to continue exploring over the coming months.

We also talk about the importance of failure, and the liberation that comes once we accept and even embrace our own screw-ups. As a keen balcony gardener, Rebecca shares her best hits for container growing, including some of the Australian native edibles that are most likely to survive some light-to-moderate neglect.

Rebecca and I talk about the point of view that says ‘chores’ are something we need to dread, and the mindset shift we’ve both made (usually) that sees tasks such as making, mending, growing, cooking, cleaning, preparing and experimenting as something more purposeful and fulfilling rather than a drudgery to be suffered through. We both freely admit that Netflix and convenience play a regular role in our lives too, so it’s not all bad news, but this mindset shift is actually an important one to think on.

This is a genuinely delightful conversation with a genuinely delightful woman who I have decided is my newest firm friend, whether she knows it or not. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

  • warndu.com
  • The Art of the Natural Home
  • Connect with Rebecca:  IG  |  Facebook
  • Learn more about Simple Year 2018 – a 12-month guided simplicity program featuring contributors such as The Minimalists, Cait Flanders, Courtney Carver, Jules Clancy, Marc and Angel Chernoff, Tammy Strobel, Colin Wright, Anthony Ongaro, Erin Juenemann and Rachel Macy Stafford. 

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 3.5 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!