Donnie wandering down a woodland track

Meandering for mental health

A few years ago Swindale Beck was restored to its original meandering path. It had been straightened about 200 years ago to improve farming on the land around it. Unfortunately there were unintended consequences.

The fast flowing water meant that fish could no longer spawn as their habitat had changed. Biodiversity in the stream and along the bank was lost.

Increased water flow also meant that sediment did not drop out, it carried on downstream making the water murkier.

The river’s health had been compromised in the name of productivity.

Returning the river to its original path was important for nature, downstream water quality at Haweswater reservoir and reduced flood risk.

Do you think the improved farming productivity was worth the loss of nature and the £200,000 it cost to restore the beck to its natural state?

We follow a similar path in our pursuit of personal productivity and success.

All too often we try to get more done, increase the speed of our work. We iron out the kinks in our lives so we can work more effectively.

Here too there are unintended consequences.

The fast pace of life leads us to dismissing our health, especially our mental health. We push ourselves to the limit and often end up burnt out.

Systems are designed and built for, and by, neurotypicals. The neurodivergent suffer.

Returning Swindale Beck to its original path restored the health of the area. For example fish found suitable spawning habitats at the river bends.

In the rush to get more done have you lost your natural habitat? The habitat that promotes health and growth. The habitat that helps you cope with the busyness and sensory overload of the world.

Build time for meandering into your week. Go for a walk for no other reason than to promote slow time. Lift your gaze from your devices and spend quality time with yourself or people who energise you.

Don’t put off looking after your health. At what cost your recovery ?

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