Hello Beautiful ones!
I don’t know about you but I’m full of the sunshine buzz and loving soaking up the city right now. I cannot express how excited I am that Thors Tipi is coming back this summer… Make mine a cold pint and I’m there! It’s my absolute fav and I can’t wait to hang there on a hot summers eve.
This time on the blog I’m looking at Eco York and how it already is, and why it should continue to be, Eco friendly as a city and living space. Getting back to our natural roots is super important as we all know by now and connecting with eco friendly ways of living is as equally important. The new Spark Cic containers are a fab example of inventive, pop up and eco friendly uses of retail, art & performance and hospitality spaces, encouraging York to thrive but also use it’s land sensibly.
There are so many ways to do your bit for the environment , and contrary to what we might think, it’s not actually that hard to make some pretty simple small changes in the right direction. But if we’re honest we want them to be as low impacting on our daily routine as poss, and that’s realistic and Ok! After all we are expected to juggle so much nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to tick ALL the boxes ALL the time… something has to give…But the eco clocks ticking big time and we all need to take ‘environmentally friendly’ serious now!
I am a bit of a spiritual hippy boho queen I’ll be honest, and I do love my natural organic products particularly my skincare, supplements, natural remedies, herbs and essential oils - Neals Yard Remedies is the best for all these scrummy wonderful things and more!. I am also engaged to an Eco King - environmental biologist, Richard Johnston aka Mr Trout of E-boracum Ecology therefore ‘Eco Friendly’ is a big part of my life. After chatting about Mental Health Awareness Week, and the impact natural spaces have on our mindsets, I figured I’d pin him down and Q&A some Eco friendly tips for a healthier, happier, less stressed you! You’re welcome 💋
MT: What links are there to improved Mental Health and Nature /outdoors?
RJ: Through my own personal experience there are many benefits to mental health and emotional well being from being around nature and in natural surroundings. I have not looked into studies surrounding the subject because I have felt it works for me so what proof do I need? But I expect there are many scientific psychological journals that would support this. Really though, when it comes to your mental health and what makes you feel calm, by all means listen to suggestions from family friends and medical personal if that is relevant but it is down to personal preference and it is very important that you approach things your way.
I have suffered a couple of heavy bouts of depression in the past, some anxiety and a great deal of stress etc but life can catch up with you, even if you consider yourself emotionally aware and determined of will. I have found that nature and green spaces have consistently supported my well being. I think the following factors are important:
a) We are over loaded by background noise in work and in towns, whether from vehicle engines, crowds of people, technology etc. So being in a calm environment will naturally give our subconscious brain less to focus on and relieve stress. I adore music and I find sometimes calm music helps but also it is important to sometimes turn that off too.
b) Listen, look. Listen to the breeze in the vegetation and the birds singing, it will focus your mind on those things. Look around you for things that may have never noticed before and walk past all the time. Seeing little plants, busy insects or the way light plays off objects will enrich your view of the world and put things a little bit into perspective.
c) We are all willing to be reached at all times by phones, emails etc so disconnecting from these things for a short time is very important; it is very unlikely that whilst you sit in calm for 30 minutes, you will get the most important call of your life.
d) We are animals; even under all of our species achievements, the wonderful things that were are capable of; we are still animals. I think that most people will always feel calm in nature how ever much we evolve.
MT: How can you make time to get a nature/outdoors fix in today’s busy lifestyle?
RJ: Find a space that is near your house, near your place of work, even if it a very small park that won’t take long to get to. If you have a garden but it needs some work then make a plan and fix it over the next few weekends, the work itself will be distracting and help you sleep well and the finished result will be worth it. Make time for yourself to be in these places, like eating healthily or going to the gym finding time for calmness, particularly in a green space will help your health. I have 3 children and many things to do but I always try and make time for nature.
MT: Top tips for daily mindfulness.
RJ: Help yourself organise a messy brain with planning a basic routine/diary for your week. I am a big believer in spontaneity and trying new things but sometimes my head can get so full of stuff that I forget things, so plan a bit!
Outside listen to gently running water whether its a stream or even the patter of rain, the breeze in the trees and bird song. We have some of the most melodic, non sqwarky birds in the world in the UK, enjoy them! Drink plenty of water. Listen to your favorite calm music. Find a hobby you like that keeps your hands occupied, in particular something that has a finished product for the time you have put in e.g. painting, drawing, writing, photography, crafting and gardening.
If you have time volunteering can help boost your morale.
MT: Fav spots in York for nature / therapeutic zenning out etc?
RJ: In North and East of town - St Nicks Fields Nature Reserve, Walmgate Stray behind York Uni, Low Moor Allotments, Clifton Ings
In South and West of town - Fulford Ings, Rowntree Park
Centrally - The small churchyard of Holy Trinity Church off Goodramgate, especially useful if you need to quickly assert a sense of calm and step back from the busy rush of central York on Saturdays; The Museum Garden (Sometimes… it can be too busy!) its quieter around the back of the Art Gallery.
MT: How can people get involved with E-boracum Ecology?
RJ: Well the first step is by contacting me on my Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (I have a twitter account and a very new Instagram account and I am not far off finishing my website).
I am happy to receive messages about anything, from anyone, whether people want to ask me to identify something on a photo, give advice as to the best places to go rock pooling this Summer, suggest some ways to make your garden more wildlife friendly or my opinion on a global or local environmental issue. I am happy to give talks and lead nature activity events so just ask.
I just want to nurture an interest in keeping the planet healthy and appreciating the natural wonders around us, however small they may be!
I also chatted with the fabulous Maddie Drury of Dream on Maddie , you tuber vlogger and eco warrior as my ‘Peep Of The Week’. She gave her super tips on making small everyday changes, easy and eco friendly! Check this lady out, she’s on the rise and a mega talented Yorkie.
MD: Its not difficult to be eco-friendly in York. Amongst our city’s endless coffee shops, innovative restaurants and bike filled streets is a community of consciously green Yorkies who are making David Attenborough proud.
A day in York begins with a cracking cup of coffee. Despite the biodegradable takeaway cups breaking into the coffee scene, the best, long lasting choice you can make is to bring your own reusable mug. And there are none more fashionable than that of Keepcup. An Australian brand of barista approved reusable coffee cups, these little fellers come in a variety of contrasting colours and materials. Local outlets such as region renowned Spring Espresso and Gatehouse Coffee both have small stocks when you pop in for a brew.
Following the success of 2015’s 5p plastic bag charge, why not upgrade your bag for life to a tote bag? Whats more you could be sporting a fine print from York’s own Alex Sickling, who has created a quaint map of York detailing some of the city’s top independent businesses. Head to Bishy Road’s Pig and Pastry to bag yourself a classic eco-friendly buy.
As the day draws to a close you deserve a shower (don’t spend too long in there…) No hair wash would be complete a surprisingly effective shampoo bar. Replacing your L’Oreal single use plastic bottles with a packaging free substitute is an idea that has only recently begun to soak up the attention. Reducing your plastic consumption is a trend finally worth jumping aboard - do it for the polar bears.
With all that in mind, get yourself in tune with some trees and zen up, do something to make Mr Attenborough smile (Eco orientated preferably) and get outside and love your beloved York that little bit more!
Miss Trout xFacebook