Tag Archives: wellbeing


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.



An Ambassador calls

THis is a picture of Sue, who is the new Health and Wellbeing Ambassadoer to the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire. You can tell she’s an ambassador because she arrived with a box of Ferrero Rocher. If you live in a country which doesn’t use an ambassador for advertising this reference will probably mean nothing to you.

This is the ancient and revered office of High Sheriff rather than the Sheriff of Nottingham who is a sort of second mayor and not at all as posh. This year’s High Sheriff attended the ceremony in full ceremonial regalia and a turban, which looks a lot better than a cocked hat. I’m told (as I don’t get invited to such things) that as it was conducted in a Sikh temple and that the male invitees (including a judge and a Bishop) had to wear blue handkerchieves on their heads. I’m put in mind of a blue hankerchief looking like a do-rag . I may be wrong, but you can never tell.

The High Sheriff, when chosen, is pricked with a bodkin, though (disappointingly) it’s really only a parchment that gets pricked. It would be much more fun to stick a needle into the actual High Sheriff and watch him jump.

However, eschewing all comedy, and banishing thoughts of Alan Rickman, this is a serious matter. We’re going to be part of a big push to make Nottinghamshire a more healthy county, and it all starts here! It’s a case of one step at a time but with Sue driving it and taking a group of enthusiastic volunteers with her I’m sure we’ll be seeing a change by the end of the year.