Most of the Gartenzwerg family lives and works in London, one of the greenest cities in the UK(1).
You only need to take a short walk before you stumble upon one of London’s 3000 parks designated by the boroughs as ‘public open space’ (2). Covering almost 18 per cent of London, these open spaces cover more area than the city’s railways and roads combined. Amongst all this, we have an estimated 8 million trees covering around 20% of the city’s land area (3), pretty cool huh?
Yet despite having all this on our doorstep, a recent study found that many of us, millions, in fact, are spending less than half an hour outside each day, with long working hours and an increasingly technologically driven world playing a key part (4). More often than not, our minds are somewhere else; internet shopping whilst listening to music, chatting with friends whilst sending a text, and instantly responding to every ping and notification from our smart device because the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) has taken ahold of us.
Who’s been somewhere to discover there’s no mobile connection or Wi-Fi? No Wi-Fi?! Even Mount Everest has high speed Wi-Fi! (This is actually true (5)). Despite the initial “nomophobia”(the fear of being without your phone or connection), we all make it through and may have even found the short break quite liberating. And finally when we’re back in the land of connectivity we usually discover that everything is as we left it 45 minutes earlier.
The luxury we now have, or hindrance depending on which way you look at it, is information when we want it, where we want it. But these expectations often come at a cost. There’s absolutely no doubt that technology has improved our lives in a lot of respects, but with the average millennial checking their phones 150 times a day (6), you have to question to what extent technology is adding value.
With the daily distractions and culture of always being switched on and contactable, it can be difficult to de-stress and relax. And with mental health and wellbeing so openly talked about, we wanted to touch upon the role that nature can play in taking us away from the daily digital grind and supporting our overall health.
“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being” (Eckhart Tolle).
Research has shown that spending time in green spaces helps people to de-stress and relax and feel more connected with the world around us.
Nature provides a fantastic mindfulness tool allowing you to be present in the moment with nothing but your senses. Whether you’re fortunate to have your own garden, or simply taking a stroll through your local park, everyone can practice mindfulness with nature. Spend a few minutes outside to find the peace and calm all around you – feel the sun on your face, the grass between your toes or the sound of wind in the trees.
Gardening, like being present in nature, is another way of channeling our energy into the here and now and finding a sense of calm away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. By being in the here and now and responding to the Earth’s needs, a garden rewards you with tangible achievement and a sense of pride.
And if you need help practicing mindfulness, just think like a child. They live in the moment and enjoy life’s simple pleasures such as crunching leaves under their feet, listening to bird song and splashing in muddy puddles. To see the joy on a child’s face when playing outside, it’s no wonder that nature plays a crucial role in physical and mental health and early contact with nature fosters positive attitudes for protecting the environment as an adult (Friends of the Earth, 2017)(7).
You may question why an IoT company is promoting the benefits of taking time away from your screens but our goal is not to add another distraction to this increasingly technologically driven world. As we discussed in our previous blog post here, technology empowers and it is on us how smart we are using new technologies. For us, the goal is to connect a little piece of nature with everyone. So regardless of how much space, time and knowledge you have, everyone can enjoy the benefits, both physically and mentally, of growing your own food from home.
Fiona holds a degree in Marketing Management and when she isn’t working, you can find her fell running in the Peak District, developing a new gluten free concoction in the kitchen, or spending time with her 18-month-old son.