Tag Archives: Nature-deficit Disorder

Friluftsliv

That’s right – friluftsliv. It’s not a typo and I didn’t fall asleep with my head on the keyboard.  (I have, once or twice, fallen asleep with my head on the keyboard, (in case you are wondering) but the result has never been very interesting).It is a Norwegian concept, meaning “free air life”.  It’s similar to ecotherapy, nature therapy, blue sky hospital and green gym but in Norway it’s part of everyday life, while we struggle to find time to include nature in our busy lives.

I say “busy lives” but in truth how much is “busy” and how much is just just useless clutter generated by emails and texts and Twitter?

According to a 2016 UN Report, Denmark, with hygge, is the happiest country in the world, with Norway fourth. The USA comes 13th and the UK 23rd. No disrespect to American readers but we have free health care, half the suicide rate and a quarter of the murder rate: how can we be less happy? Can a lack of wilderness make so much difference?

The ironic thing from my point of view is that we’ve just spent five years pushing the idea that getting outside is good for you and despite all the evidence that supports us, we weren’t able to get the idea across.

We know that working with soil combats depression, aggression, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, irritable bowel and fibromyalgia.

We also know that getting outside has a wide range of benefits, such as increased self-esteem, reduced anxiety and aggression, increased energy, weight loss and improved mobility.

Various researchers have shown benefits in increasing overall health, decreasing anti-social behaviour, promoting healing and slowing the progress of long-term degenerative conditions. I can’t find my list of references and I’m having trouble tracking a link for the last one, sorry about that.

The availability of outdoor space even affects the development of children – there’s even a condition attached to lack of outdoor play – Nature Deficit Disorder. Generally I’m sceptical about this sort of thing, but having seen what happens when you put a group of kids in the middle of a field I’m a convert.

Sadly, the UK is slow to learn the benefits of being outside.

 

 

Quecus Community and the blustery day

It was raining at 5am, which wasn’t a good sign, and by the time I hauled myself out of bed and headed to the supermarket (sixish) we had a good sized selection of sleet.

With 32  ten-year-olds coming to the farm for a day of springtime activities this wasn’t a good omen.

That’s the penalty of double-booking yourself. With the geriatric yoga being in the centre every Thursday we try not to do much that day, but we’d accepted this one on the basis that it was spring and it was bound to be nice weather. We should have known better…

They don’t, incidentally, call it “geriatric yoga”, they call it “seated yoga”. However, it’s done by geriatrics, so I rest my case.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the kids planted flowers around the bases of the statues, the Newark Advertiser came to take pictures and we had a thoroughly good time,

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Two pupils decided to reveal they had food allergies five minutes before the start of the session, which was a bit of a downer but apart from that it all went quite well.

I’d bought eggs so we could be a bit adventurous and stick eggs on top of the pizzas but as one of the allergies was eggs I decided to give them a miss with the first group. When the second group was offered eggs only one accepted. I worry about modern children.

I know we talk of Nature Deficit Disorder but are we also breeding them to have no sense of adventure?

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You don’t always get what you want

It’s been a week for buying books and I’ve managed to buy some that weren’t quite what I was expecting.That’s the trouble with ordering from Amazon, you don’t always get what you want.

I ordered a book featuring 101 outdoor activities for kids – 101 Outdoor Activities for Kids: Ultimate Collection by T.J. Doherty. When I started to read I found that it wasn’t a book with 101 outdoor activities for kids but more of a book with 101 activities for kids that could be done outdoors. Activity Number One is – playing “Simon Says” – you don’t need to be outdoors to play that.

So although it is a well laid out book and full of good ideas it wasn’t quite the book of fire starting and den building I’d been expecting. But at £1.53 for the Kindle edition it’s still great value for money.

It’s probably proof of  what we’re already thinking – that kids don’t get outside enough. Same with adults: I can’t imagine any of my teachers needing a book on outdoor activities. When I stop and think about it I don’t know why I need it.

Box of matches, baler twine and a penknife. That’s all I need really.

And a risk assessment.

Fire, knives and nooses. What could possibly go wrong?