The healing power of disconnecting the phone and reconnecting with nature.
You’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard from me in a while… No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but pretty close too actually.
After my week with the Weleda Argentina team, I took a week off from the Global Garden Journey to go on a journey of my own to Patagonia – one of the most Southern points of the world before Antarctica. Hiking the W-Trek in Torres Del Paine (Chile) and exploring El Chálten and El Calafate (Argentina) had been bucket list adventures for me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit when I was so close.
This part of the world is famous for its natural wonders – the highest mountains, widest rivers, gigantic glaciers and some of the flattest and wide meadow plains on earth. It’s a part of the world so naturally beautiful, it’s only fitting that nature taught me a thing or two on my travels.
I learnt the power of disconnecting the phone and reconnecting with nature. And myself.
With no phone, no laptop, no social media to distract me I really thought deeply about the topics covered in my time in Argentina. I took my learnings from the Weleda experts and on my many hours trekking I began to apply them to the working of nature itself. But, before we get to the learnings, here’s the week that was Argentina.
Weleda Argentina put on an amazing showcase of events as diverse as the country itself.
My time with the Weleda team in Argentina took me to the sophisticated city of Buenos Aires and the quartz filled mountains of Còrdoba before the lure of Patagonia beckoned.
- I went on a journey to Còrdoba find out when the real ingredients in Weleda products come from for you.
- Discovered over 70 medicinal plants in the Weleda Garden of Villa Berna with manager Jorge ‘Green Hands’ Gusto.
- Picked and potentized mother tinctures to make natural medicines using traditions of by-gone years.
- Dr. Sergio Grimes – President of the Anthropsophic Doctors Association of Argentina taught me about the holistic medical treatments for the body, mind and the spirit.
- And resident Weleda cosmetologists gave my skin a diagnosis… dehydrated skin, enlarged pores, I’ve got some work to do.
The topic from the Weleda Argentina week that continued to speak to me was about our need to balance all aspects of ourselves – our bodies, our minds and our spirits.
Patagonia became nature’s classroom.
The week without digital distractions gave me plenty of time to work on my own philosophies relating to what I learnt with Weleda Argentina. I’m no Rudolf Steiner, but I have been delving deep within my own self to apply the learnings of Global Garden to my life.
A dose of ‘Vitamin G’ is my way of looking after my body, mind and spirit.
During my time in Buenos Aires I met with Dr. Grimes, a certified practicing Anthroposophic doctor and President of the Association of Anthroposophic Doctors of Argentina. He helped me get a deeper understanding of the importance of integrated medicine today and of ‘Holistic Healing’. That means looking at human health in an integrated way, where the human being and the natural world are not only defined by their physical attributes but their invisible qualities too – their soul and spirit.
I am a big believer that you have to analyse any situation from a holistic point of view – in terms of health, of course that means looking deeper than what we can physically see. Our minds and our souls need to be taken care of too.
We all know how good we feel in nature, walking barefoot on the grass or with the sun on our back… well that’s called ‘Grounding’ but I like to call it ‘Vitamin G ’ – G for Ground.
Trekking in Patagonia was my dose of ‘Vitamin G’. Nature can soothe away a whole multitude of illnesses. Years of research shows that by reconnecting with the Earth’s natural energy – simply by walking barefoot in the grass, sand, dirt or rock can reduce the symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue and other health issues people have today.
The effects ‘Vitamin G’ on the body
We all know it feels good, but I never knew exactly why. Simply speaking when our bare skin comes into contact with the earth, free electrons are taken up into the body. The Earth is an excellent conductor of these electrons – think of them as nature’s own anti-oxidants. They help neutralize free radicals that can lead to inflammation and disease in the body when our skin (another excellent conductor) comes into contact with them. But there’s lots of other physical benefits too…
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Boost bone and muscle density
- Strengthen your core
- Improve balance
- Help control your weight
The effects ‘Vitamin G’ on the mind
Have you noticed that just having the sun on your face can change your mood? Or maybe you were tired before that salt water swim, yet emerged energized? I do, instantly. Immersing myself in nature, even something as simple as putting my hands in soil, watching a sunset or soaking in water allows me to think clearly, be more creative and just calm down. Maybe that’s because the Earth’s energy upgrades our physiology to allow our bodies to cope and repair. It also…
- Boosts your mood.
- Promotes wellbeing
- Increases vitality
- Promotes better sleep
The effects ‘Vitamin G’ on the spirit.
You can’t see the Earth’s energy but you can feel it. People describe it in many ways, for me it shows as a gentle adrenalin… my soul starts to soar. I breathe deeper and I feel balance restore. Things that seemed important somehow feel less so. I don’t feel as rushed, as harried – it’s like someone has pushed the reset button.
Some people describe it as a warm, tingling sensation when they kick off their shoes and wiggle their toes in the grass or the sand. I get where they are coming from with that!
I’m really grateful for my session with Dr. Sergio Grimes. His passion for healing, not just alleviating symptoms is inspiring. He has definitely made me a life-long impact on me to be more conscious of looking after all aspects of myself… the body, mind and spirit.
Switching off to switch on.
I’m as guilty as they come for spending too much time on my phone and my computer. When I arrived at Eco Camp in Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile I did experience of moment of dread when I was told there was no internet connection.
No WiFi for 5 days. They said I would grow to love it. I didn’t believe them for a second.
But they were right. So, I did a little research. A scary fact is that we spend more time with technology these days than we do asleep. 8 hours and 21 minutes – now, we know where all that time disappears from during the day. Most of us these days are more addicted to technology than we would like to admit and unfortunately this dependency has its effects on our health too – physically, mentally and spiritually.
Many health experts are recommending Digital Detoxing – I’ve got to admit, now I agree.
I’ll definitely be building this into my life at home. It’s fascinating how one simple change can have such a massive impact on my body, mind & spirit. Whoever doesn’t believe me… give a digital detox a try, even just for one day.
Some physical benefits of a Digital Detox
- You will be a safer driver.
28% of mobile phone users (I think it’s much higher if we were all honest) admit they use their phone whilst driving.
- Increased technology use is linked to the decline in physical activity. Kid’s today play outside for less than 5 hours each weekend, kids growing up before the 1990’s played outside for an average of 9 hours each weekend.
- You will sleep better.
Artificial light shining straight into your eyes before you go to sleep… of course your sleep quality is going to be terrible. It’s like shining a sun beam into your eyes then you telling your brain it’s sleep time. Health officials say to back away from the phone two hours before you would like to sleep.
- You’ll eat better.
Results from a study performed by the Rochester Institute of Technology students are more likely to eat whilst using technology than at the dinner table. That makes eating a multitasking activity…. rather than a social experience. This also prevents eating consciously which often leads to overeating.
Some mental benefits of a Digital Detox
- Reducing your screen time can reduce depression and anxiety
Sounds like a big call but when you think about it not really. Anxiety is often linked with the release of dopamine – think of when we receive social media notifications or text messages, our brains are instantly stimulated to respond. When our phone is always on, so are we. We are on alert and so are our pleasure-seeking or validation-seeking behaviors, which can be a perfect breeding ground for mental distress. Research also shows that using social medical and digital devices to avoid responding is also a factor of technology-related anxiety and depression.
- Increase work productivity
Technology and communication is a major part of most job descriptions and most of us are aided by such progression. A recent study reveals 60% of employers need to consult with at least 10 employees a day to get their work done. And that the average office worker losing a third of their daily productivity due to technology – Wow. Don’t for one second think I’m telling you to shut everything down but I know I’m going to think about giving myself permission to put a technology ‘closed sign’ on my my mental door even just for a short while. If I’m not feeling productive or creative I’m learning it’s ok to give myself permission to be distraction free… even just for a little while.
Some spiritual benefits of a Digital Detox
- Your relationships will likely improve
In a Forbes study, 3 out of 5 people admitted they spend more time on their digital devices than they do with their partners. That’s terrifying. But we have all looked at a couple at a restaurant having dinner whilst glued to their phones. that we say ‘oh no, that’s not us’ but most likely is. Maybe try a small digital detox on date night… I’ll be interested to hear if you notice a change.
- Be more engaging
We would all argue that technology today connects us with people more than ever before but ironically digital devices and social media can make us anti-social. Taking a break from technology allows us to work on our social skills again… technology allow us to break eye contact and from engaging with people, it closes us off. Try not reaching for your phone in an uncomfortable situation… how does not disconnecting actually help you reconnect?
- You choose when you’re on or you’re off
Taking a break, no matter how big or small gives us control over our technology use. We can break the addition. We can give ourselves permission to do this. The phone doesn’t always have to be on. This teaches us that we can survive without seeing how many likes that post got, or without scrolling Facebook for one more time before. We learn we can live without the constant stimulation, that we those feel good feeling comes from other sources – relationships, productivity, rest and that lessens our dependence on electronics. And it’s funny what we then find time for – those soul souring activities that we never thought we had enough time in the day to do!
Natures skincare regime beats anything on any shelf.
We chatted earlier about the body, mind and spirit benefits of connecting with nature. And I’m a big believer that our physical beauty also improves when we connect with nature too. In the same way that ‘Vitamin G’ helps balances and stabilizes our body’s basic biological rhythms, reduces chronic inflammation and associated pain it also used those same tricks to make it the most natural and powerful anti-aging remedy around!
Fresh air, exercise, water, good food and vitamin D – that’s my favorite skin care regime.
I’ve had to pack light for my trekking, no heavy toiletry bag for me. So, I have been skincare and make-up free for the last week with fresh air, exercise, good food, water and Vitamin B being my beauty essentials. It’s funny how quickly your skin thanks you for it and returns it owns balance. I normally have quite oily skin but when I leave it ‘el natural’ for a few days it finds its own way to sort it out.
I love the philosophy of nature helping nature.
Thank you so much Team Argentina for showing me so many wonderful experiences and also for giving me the freedom to find my own path. I am such a fan of your beautiful country, your warm people and delicious food. I can’t wait to visit again.
That’s enough philosophies from me! I’d love to hear how things you are learning on the Global Garden journey if its leading to changes in your life?