Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Guest Column: Nature is a playground for us to enjoy

Published on

Chloe Hodson-Smith

In today’s hyper-connected world, it is the default to be attached to some sort of device for the most part of the day. This constant stimulation leaves most of us drained, underproductive, rushed and overwhelmed. Researchers are also uncovering the repercussions this is having on us and its effect on our children before they even enter day-care. It’s about time we step away from the screens and overtime, and back into nature.

This is not generational — we all do it, and most of us need it — but where should the line be drawn? An American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) survey of 370 parents with children between the ages of six months to four-years-old found that, “73 percent of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60 percent while running errands, 65 percent to calm a child and 29 percent to put a child to sleep.” What is even more astonishing is that 36 percent of children under age one had not only used a media device but 24 percent had already used a phone to call someone.

There are many benefits to slowing down, working less and putting the devices away. Studies show that allotting time to the activities you know you should be doing — including the activities you enjoy — positively impacts your well-being, your relationships, your ability to achieve goals and improves work performance. In fact, a 2015 Stanford University study unveiled that “productivity per hour declines when one’s work week exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that there is no point in working anymore.”

At the least, work breaks and weekends are key opportunities to disconnect and refresh the mind. We are very fortunate here as Lambton County is built upon and around greenspace. You know those wooden benches lining the walkways of all the parks around town? They’re there to be sat on, to take in a deep breath of nature and breathe out clarity. All the bike trails weaving throughout the county are also built for our demands as they strategically lead into both secluded pockets and the main streets.

So, from someone who is guilty of using the phone as a third hand, I have learned to switch off the phone, shut off the computer, unplug the TV, and inform my opinions with personal observations and interactions. With spring in full bloom, there is no better time to pause and unwind outside. The best part is it’s free!

What you’ll discover is not a new place or the next hot trend, but yourself.

Chloe Hodson-Smith is an avid traveller and writer from Tasmania, Australia currently residing in Sarnia. 

More like this