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Jez's Notebook | Nature, Nurture Archive

The 12 Week Journey Half Way Point…

In the distance, there is always light.

It’s week 6 of my 12 week journey I wrote about in this blog entry back in October. I’m at the half way point and while I didn’t intend on keeping a journal, or sharing regular updates about the development of the journey, I did want to share this development in case it is of use to anyone else.

This journey was prompted by a desire to share honesty, truth and vulnerability. It felt, for me, like a huge gamble to be so open and to publicly share such a personal journey of growth and development – however,  being true to yourself, and honouring that, is the ultimate definition of authenticity. And authenticity is something I know so many of us are craving: from the news; from our idols; from social media; from our friends and in this incredibly anxious and challenging set of circumstances we find ourselves in, from our leaders and society, too. Authenticity is ultimately about

How to Kill Your House Plants: the definitive guide

Do the opposite and your house plants will thrive, giving you years of enjoyment!

In this short mini-series on the benefits of house plants, Jez Rose offers the definitive guide to how to most successfully kill your house plants…

ABSOLUTELY NO WATER 🌱

– the quickest and easiest way to kill most house plants is just to simply forget that they are living things that, like us, require food and water. Buy one, leave it in a pot and then just try your absolute hardest to completely forget about it. Walk away and never think of it again. It will dry out, starve and die. Then simply throw away while bemoaning that you manage to kill every plant you own. Some plants like Croton are especially keen on dry periods, but at some point even they will die if you never water them.

FLOOD IT 🌱🚰

– if you prefer a more, “Killing Eve” hands-on approach, try flooding it with water. For maximum effect use a pot with no drainage holes so that entire plant and

A Journey That Will Take 12 Weeks…

Autumn is a time of change – and loss.

Back in March at the very beginning of the viral pandemic I was a pillar of positivity. I sensed the social pain, frustration and challenges associated with the practicalities of lockdown, but from a behavioural perspective understood the significant underlying and unseen problems there would be from isolation, social starvation and disruption to routine.

Behind the positive videos we produced, blogs and content I continued to produce to help maintain perspective on the uncertain situation, things were extremely difficult. Most of my income relies on people coming together in the form of conferences, events, broadcast filming and workshops here at the farm. As a result of lockdown and the subsequent covid-19 restrictions, within 7 days I lost

Decisions, choices and being in control

Allow everything to happen to you.

As the dark evenings draw ever-closer, almost imperceptibly creeping in, and the mornings become more difficult to arise from, there was for me this week the sudden realisation that Autumn is very much here. With Autumn comes, for many, Seasonal Affective Disorder (rather appropriately abbreviated to S.A.D.), otherwise known as “the winter blues”.

It’s a real thing, and until only a few years back I had no idea it would have played such an important role in me discovering a greater sense of productivity; balance, and happiness, and in understanding changes to workplace behaviour.

Nature Works – isolation, lockdown, and distancing

Is it possible to reconnect to the things that really matter?

I continue to hear people referring to the “return to normal”; references to the “new normal”, and desperate pleas of “getting back to how things were”. There’s a fine line to understanding, I think, what people really mean though. I think we all yearn for our total freedom and to not have to think about the distance and protective measures required for interacting with others. However, to go back exactly to how things were would be a total tragedy. We are exercising more; more conscious of social interaction and wildlife and the environment are both thriving more than they have in tends of years because of the reduced human pollution. Surely we don’t mean to undo all the good we have – all-be-it unintentionally – done?

I predict we will soon see another rise in the need to connect with nature again, as further travel and social restriction sanctions are placed on more of the world due to the rising cases of corona virus; the fallout being a return to an especially isolating disconnection. But also a return to work and whatever individual “normal: looks like because with that will come different stresses and anxieties. And we’ll need an outlet for that.

Just like during lockdown, more of us will experience the frustration, anxiety, tension, and stress that comes as a result of our disconnection with nature. The desperation to be healed – all-be-it a largely subconscious desperation – was well documented

The Missing – and how to find them

I’m not a religious person, nor am I overly spiritual. I believe in people; in love; kindness; dignity and respect, so I suppose you could say I’m sensitive: I love wholly and, vicariously by default, the losses are painful.

I like science; evidence; facts and at school was that – with hindsight, utterly irritating – child who always asked: “why?”. Exasperated teaching staff would have to shut down the endless pushing with: “it just is, okay?!”. I had a suspicion then that they might not have known the answer to my interrogation.

Despite all this, Friday was a day I can’t help but keep coming back to in my mind, and one I’m certain my memory of will never leave me. Almost one month to the day on what would have been his 13th birthday, I had to say the final goodbye to my beloved dog, Zeus. He was truly my best friend; my wingman – my buddy. For many years he was the only reason I returned home. Growing up I’d had dogs all my life, but there was something deeply special about Zeus. Everyone who met him commented on his personality, and wanted to take him home with them. He had a mighty presence; a captivating sensitivity about him, and an uncanny ability to know when something wasn’t right. He’d slowly approach to sit closely beside you, offering his awesome amber eyes and, if needed, a gentle lick. I spoke to him daily; sought him out regularly to be with him, and felt his ready reassurance.

Nature Works – the impact on performance and culture

We’ve seen a marked increase in people spending time in, and feeling the benefits of, nature. Now is the time for organisations to embrace that fully.

The global COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in a widespread increase of individuals reconnecting with nature: walks in the park; gardening, and socially distanced outdoor meetings being just a few ways that we’ve been able to readily engage with the fresh air; green visual spaces, and plant life.

The surge of interest may well have initially been triggered by suddenly having time on our hands to get that garden sorted; grown your own to avoid reliance on overstretched supermarket supply chains, and providing something interesting and engaging to do while not being permitted to travel or socialise freely.

Nature Works – culture, leadership and COVID-19

The Government has encouraged greater connection with the outdoors as part of its national COVID-19 coping strategy.

Going for walks, gardening, outdoor exercise and even “sitting on a park bench” have all been encouraged by the Government as part of its national coping strategy with the unprecedented impact and changes associated with the Corona virus.

For me and no doubt many other psychologists, health advisors, gardeners and proponents of wellbeing it has been both encouraging and joyful to see so many more people interacting with and connecting with the great outdoors.

Even if you are without a garden of your own, when there’s little else to do and with restrictions on socialising and physical movement over a sustained period of time, many more people have become

Nature Works – two key questions

What are we doing?

In my keynote presentation I display several images of real scenes from around the world. They’re each poignant, and snapshots of moments I don’t think most of us would be proud to know that we’re a part of or have contributed to.

A seal looks at the camera, its neck restricted by some plastic it has become caught up in; a controversial country leader grins proudly; a surfer rides a huge wave among plastic, litter and pollution; a homeless person, cold and hungry pleads as passers by ignore him; a forest felled for its wood, animals fleeing from what was once their home. These scenes, and many much closer to home, or witnessed in the news and reported by the world’s media, often lead us to ask: “what are we doing?”. Which is frequently followed up with: “why are we doing it?”. Those questions are easy to ask from the comfort of a sofa, distanced from the reality and without any real, purposeful questioning as to how we might be cause of some of those problems.

However, those two questions: “what are we doing?” and “why are we doing it?” are questions that I encourage all businesses I work with to apply to as many points of their systems and processes, and indeed the decisions they make and even with interactions with their colleagues – as often as possible. Stop; pause for a moment and seek a sense check. We don’t stop often often; we don’t pause when we absolutely can, without any detrimental effect. But nature does. Winter time is a stark and harsh reminder; not simply a metaphor but a real-world, active reminder, that pausing can often be a period of renewal. To reset if that’s required, but also just to review. By all means continue as you were, but give yourself the opportunity as an individual, or as a business, to ask yourself what on earth you are doing, and why you are doing it.

Gardening sees us nurturing something that’s living, and growing. It is often vicariously dependent on us. It never ends; a continual process, which gently offers planning for the future, and hope. But more importantly it connects us with nature. Evidence shows us that gardeners are happier than those who do not garden* and those who are active in other ways (running, swimming etc) also rate as happier. Physical activities and connecting with nature make us happier. Yet so many of us, at home and at work, sit, indoors, and without any real connection to the nature world. Perhaps not enough people know this, as we seem still so drawn to information, stimulation and entertainment at our fingertips – digital content appeals to our innate, human laziness.

Businesses can create more engaged, effective, and happier workforces by asking two simple questions: “what are we doing?”, and “why are we doing it”?.

 

*BBC Gardener’s World magazine ‘Happiness Report’ [2013]

Nature Works – Einstein and herbs

Nature works on our brain at a neurological level, improving not only our happiness and calmness but our ability to concentrate and be productive.

There are many, many simple ways that businesses can engage better with nature for the benefit of not only employee wellbeing, but organisational culture – and even leadership.

Some of those are direct methods, such as gardening clubs, growing or including plants or images of nature into work areas, while others are more academic: applying the lessons and logic from nature directly into business structure or roles.