GPs in the Shetland Islands are now ‘prescribing’ nature (e.g. walks and bird watching) as a treatment for mental health, diabetes, heart disease, stress and other conditions.
Now before my time in the health care system I would have said ‘well what’s that going to achieve? – what a load of twaddle’ – but now, I can’t really deny that they make a good point.
Medication is all very well and good and is certainly needed to keep me afloat, but with the findings that walking can help Type 2 diabetes and that people who don’t exercise are more unhealthy than those on dialysis and people who smoke – I think it’s definitely worth a try.
Whilst I wasn’t working between May and October, we went for a lot of walks and obviously we had our little trip to the Highlands. I actually remember saying to Tim ‘it’s hard to remember why I’m so anxious and stressed when I’m faced with these views’- I felt like a bit of a loser for saying it, but it was totally true.
Aside from the benefits of walking itself, I think getting back to basics with nature helps us put our problems into perspective. We have created this world that quite frankly at the moment, is a bit of a s*** show! The more time I spend on social media the more I wonder what an epic mistake the invention of social media was; there are so many mixed messages on EVERYTHING that it’s easy to lose sight on how to even live. It was even brought to my attention that I breathe wrong whilst I was training as a therapist. True story. And people wonder why sometimes my confidence is low!
In reality, we are no different from the other animals gracing this planet. You don’t see a sheep getting out its iPhone and Snapchatting sheep in another part of the country. They spend their days munching on grass, having the odd run in with each other and just doing their thang.
I’m also a HUGE believer in early intervention and prevention. Our bodies aren’t designed to put up with the huge amounts of crap we consume – be it processed food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, excessive exercise – and whatever else goes on in the world that I don’t know about. Yes these things are fashionable, tasty or addictive, but our bodies are not designed to effectively digest them without causing implications. Why not make the changes before we find ourselves knocking on the GPs door begging for help.
So that’s why I’m quite happy about Doctors prescribing nature. It’s sad that it’s come to that and not recognised as a starting place before the trip to the local surgery – but I think taking it back to basics is exactly what the Doctor ordered!