IN THIS ISSUE
One of the best decisions my family and I have ever made has been, undoubtedly, to get a dog. I resisted for years, reasoning that we couldn’t commit the time and energy to the playing and scheduled walking a dog needs. My daughter, however, has her mother’s relentless streak and two years ago, she successfully nagged us into submission. These days I can’t believe we waited so long. The most surprising thing has been that while I was right that a dog is a huge commitment, it’s been a fantastically enjoyable one. I’ve been delighted to realise how great it is for my stress levels to be forced to take that time out. I think it’s resulted in practising my own sort of ‘mindfulness’, where I get real pleasure from being ‘in the moment’ watching Bella (right) – a ridiculously cute jack russell-shih tzu cross – frolic in the park or woods near our house. I notice the little moments, like the change of seasons and the subtle shifts of light from one day to the next. I’ve taken more exercise and had more time to myself for quiet moments of reflection and to get my thoughts in order before another busy day begins. It was when I read our feature on forest therapy that it occurred to me: for the first time in living memory, this year I haven’t had the sinus illness that normally plagues me every winter. I can’t remember the last time I even had a cold. Coincidence? Maybe. But it might also be, as writer Sarah Ivens details, that so much time in green spaces has had a huge physical as well as mental benefit. I highly recommend trying it. (The dog, of course, is optional, but I recommend that, too.) Find a green space you love and settle down with another packed issue of YOU magazine. I hope you enjoy.