I have just returned from my summer holiday camping in the Austrian mountains.
It is such a change to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by natural beauty and with no access to technology. There was no access to the internet, the phone, news or other English people.
The local people appeared to live a very simple life – farming, meeting in the village square to chat and content with a limited range of food and provisions in the shops. They all seemed to be very healthy!
As the days went by I felt myself relax. My brain was less cluttered with information, our meals were simple, we spent time chatting to people as we washed up and there was time to appreciate the surrounding beauty. I slept well, my indigestion settled, my body felt stronger and I didn’t get any headaches. I started thinking about the health benefits of simplicity and how complicated and busy our lives in a city can be.
We have become used to being always accessible. We take phone calls, check emails and communicate technologically day and night. We are bombarded with news from around the world and information about people’s lives on facebook. We have an overwhelming choice of foods in the supermarket and a mass of information about what we should and shouldn’t eat. We don’t realise how exhausting it all is until we don’t have it. It has become normal and even promoted as good.
The challenge is to apply what you learn elsewhere when you come home. So I have decided to look at facebook less often, check my phone less, read the news summary just once a day. I am going to take that couple of minutes to appreciate the autumn leaves, stop to talk to my neighbour for a few minutes and cook more simply.
We don’t all have the opportunity to go to another country but we can all make little changes in our daily lives. We are so fortunate to live in a green city with many parks – use them. We have a history in Sheffield of being friendly. Let’s keep that village community feel and take time notice each other and support each other. Share food with friends, switch off the TV, try a day without the computer.
Simplicity has great benefits. Consider it.