By Sophie Badoux
There are so many reasons why I started working for myself three years ago, and like many small business owners, one of them was flexibility. But I had something specific in mind. I wanted flexibility so in the depth of winter, I could take a two hour lunch break and spend it outside. Or on a really sunny day in summer, I would go on a hike, instead of being stuck in an office.
That’s because back then, I already knew that spending time outside made me really happy. Three years on from taking the leap and becoming my own boss and nature has become my go to self care. Some like a nice massage or getting their nails done, but nothing does it better for me than a hike in the forest, a fire on the beach or a cold dip in the sea.
When decision fatigue wears you down
Being my own boss, I sometimes feel like I spend my days making decisions. “Should I work with this client? What strategy should I suggest for them? How much should I quote? When should I have this meeting?”. And many other women will have the same feeling at work too.
And then there’s the regular adulting decisions like what to cook for dinner. Even the fun stuff like seeing friends or going on a trip often requires a level of decision making.
Turns out, we’re not actually wired to make endless choices. It gets to a point where we get what’s called “decision fatigue”. If you’ve ever heard of entrepreneurs who wear the same outfit all the time (Steve Jobs was one of them), it’s most likely because they don’t want to spend any of their decision power on what to wear.
Decision fatigue is one of my nemesis. But when I step outside, there’s little decision making. I know what I like and it all seems much more simple. Once you’re out hiking, often, all you need to do is follow the trail. Things are mainly still. It’s peaceful. It helps me feel grounded and connected to our world. If this sounds cheesy to you, pay attention to the waves or the movement of the trees in the wind next time you’re at the beach or in a forest. Breathe with them. It feels amazing.
What nature actually does to our brain
As I was writing this article, I actually wondered, why is it that I feel so good when I’m in nature? Turns out, it’s not something we make up, it’s actually proven by science. Walking in a forest or just looking at trees actually reduces the hormones that make us feel stressed: cortisol and adrenaline. You know, that feeling of always being switched on and thinking about the next thing? Nature gets rid of it. Nice one huh?
That explains why I feel more relaxed when I set up my camping table to work from my garden. The sunlight teels my brain to fully wake up and my stress hormones take a dip.
This also explains why I love going to WanderWomen events so much. Because it’s pure time in nature. No decision making (apart from deciding to sign up). Anna takes care of everything. Women come as they are, barriers come down and we connect with each other. It’s meaningful human interaction plus all the benefits from being outdoors. The best form of self care, I’m telling you.