Just some 100 years ago I’d have been locked away for being insane. A statement that might not be especially surprising to many reading this but I do talk to myself. I’d never noticed before but my team here do like to point out just how much I chatter to myself and to the dogs, and the bees and even the vegetables. I don’t expect an answer, so in terms of a assessing myself on some informal madness scale I think I’d score fairly low – unlikely to show you my knife collection at the bus stop or crumble Rich Tea over my head, but I might say “hello” in a lift.
Sometimes I surprise myself with my seemingly inherent ramblings: “oh Jez what are you doing?”; “let’s take this caterpillar off of your leaves you poor plant”; “oh Mrs Bee, come on now get with it”; “Mr Weed you’re beginning to annoy me” – those are just this morning’s. But yesterday’s was a real corker and even surprised me.
Walking to the vegetable garden I asked myself – no one else around, not even the dogs: “do rabbits get screen fatigue?”. Clearly they don’t because they don’t use computers or watch too much television (an assumption on my behalf).
But you see last weekend we had some friends to stay. She’s a high-flying city girl, who has been thrust by her company into the limelight and progressed exceptionally quickly to senior management, jet-setting off all over the world, always checking her Blackberry (phone not isolated fruit) and on her laptop until late every night – and we just know him as Kevin (the husband, not the laptop). She loves it and while it’s not a life I’d ever choose and I do occasionally remind her to switch off and relax, we don’t preach. However, this last weekend, no words were needed.
Our friends stayed at farm and the conversation turned to eye strain because I’ve got new glasses that I’m supposed to wear all the time. Our friend thought eye strain was normal. She’s accepted that perhaps human eye stung a bit in the morning and needed a jolly good rub several times in the day and felt tired and weak at night. A flaw in their design, perhaps?
Then the unimaginable happened – her laptop ran out of battery and she had forgotten her charger. Credit where credit is due though, she threw herself into country life and agreed to have a weekend without laptop working. Some tending to the vegetable garden, some sunset walks with the dogs, weeding the jewel garden and having a tour of the bee hives resulted in quite a different friend. As the weekend came to a close, her eye strain had eased off – just 24 hours without staring at a screen all the time, coupled with some fresh air and contact with nature, had led to a realisation that she was experiencing something about her body and her mind that she had not experienced for quite some time.
Here’s the take away message: just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. World wars and millions of lives lost have, regrettably, still not proven that to enough people. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is an understanding of just how important it is to treat your body well. We only get one life; this is’nt a rehearsal for something bigger, better and far more improved. This is it.
Your brain needs rest and sleep and your water. Your body needs rest and sleep and water. We are all busy; that’s no excuse – take just 60 seconds if that’s all your can afford yourself (although I’d challenge how much you value yourself and your health if that’s al you can afford) to either sit and do nothing; let your imagination carry you away while looking out of the window or to do stand and watch the world go by, whilst getting some rest air.
In the complexity of life, we understand that there is something magical that binds us and enables us to achieve – simplicity. The simple things are often those that have the greatest impact. That’s the fundamental reason that I moved to the farm, continue to conduct research for The Good Life Project and why I now run all of my training courses here in this tranquil and idyllic location.
Jez Rose is a behaviourist, broadcaster and Faculty Lead for The Good Life Project; a research project evidencing the impact of nature on health, behaviour and wellbeing. Ambassadors include broadcasters Kate Humble and the Soil Association. For free brain tricks and behaviour fixes visit www.thebehaviourexpert.com