f this unusual yr has taught us something, it’s that point spent open air is important for our wellbeing.
GPs are prescribing nation walks as a treatment for melancholy, chilly water swimming has been confirmed to spice up white blood cells in addition to our endorphin ranges and we’ve all discovered the worth of 1 treasured hour outdoors every day. Is the pure world the answer to the nation’s rising ranges of tension?
The reply might lie in a hidden nook of Cornwall, the place Katy Griffin runs Thera-Sea, which gives three-day stress administration and wellbeing retreats held on the banks of the saltwater River Fal.
Thera-Sea isn’t the best place to get to – no roads lead right here, and the positioning is reachable solely by boat or by a 20-minute hike down a mud path. When you’ve made it to the shoreline, although, you’re actually in one other world – it is a retreat in each sense of the phrase, minimize off from actual life in addition to from the primary electrical grid. A 300-year-old former stonemason’s cottage appears to be like out over the river. Hammocks swing within the tall timber, and the air is scented with woodsmoke.
Katy teaches contributors find out how to “rewild and grasp internal calm” on this fairytale setting. If all of it sounds a bit wishy-washy, simply word that her background is as a psychological well being nurse for the NHS – now she makes use of these abilities, married together with her love of the outside and the ocean, to deal with stress and nervousness with what she calls the “six pillars of life-style drugs”: bodily exercise, rest, goal, sleep, vitamin and relationships.
“As an alternative of attempting to deal with the outcomes of stress, I wish to work with individuals to forestall stress changing into overwhelming within the first place. In spite of everything, most of us will expertise loads of powerful moments in trendy life – all of us want instruments to deal with them.
“I created Thera-Sea round the concept good psychological well being is about stability. On the retreats we deal with sleep, bodily well being via swimming, kayaking, yoga and vitamin and mindfulness via foraging and bushcraft, in addition to extra conventional remedy.”
Our group of 10 would-be wildlings are holing up right here for 2 nights – and Katy guarantees to assist us calm down via a mixture of wellness workshops, cold-water swimming, forest hikes, yoga, bushcraft and feasts shared across the firepit.
Lodging is within the cosy stone cottage or in tiny homes dotted among the many timber – a shepherd’s hut, a minute looking cabin, a former potting shed and my digs, a vibrant treehouse that appears out over the water. There’s no heating inside, so I sleep below an enormous pile of duvets and blankets, listening to the partitions of the cabin creak gently when the wind blows via the branches supporting it. I can’t bear in mind the final time I slept so effectively.
The ocean is a continuing presence right here, whether or not we’re within the water for twice-daily dips, practising yoga on the shore or kayaking within the estuary. “Therefore the identify, Thera-Sea!” says Katy. “The pure world is a robust healer – and I feel wild swimming is a type of remedy in itself. Being submerged in chilly water is so good for you, each bodily and mentally, and has been proved to scale back irritation and pace up your metabolism in addition to providing you with head area.”
Early the following morning, daybreak mist remains to be hovering on the water as a procession of us stroll all the way down to the shore and dive into the chilly River Fal – our rewilding has begun.
“Look out for Seamus the seal! He likes to hitch in,” says Mark Kelly, Thera-Sea’s exercise chief, readily available as lifeguard. The shock of the icy water quickly wears off, and after just a few gasping strokes I begin to really feel surprisingly heat and alive, my pores and skin tingling as I float on the floor. We climb again out of the water, up a seaweedy financial institution, mud squishing between our toes. As soon as we’re on dry land, Seamus pops his shiny head out of the river, curious to see who has been taking a morning dip in his estuary.
Steaming cups of campfire espresso in hand, we sit at an extended desk below the timber for the primary workshop. I’m cautious of my first encounter with group remedy, however Katy’s session is relaxed and open, and sharing is elective. I come away with a greater understanding of the bodily and psychological manifestations of stress (clue – there are tons) and easy methods for combating them. Others within the group have diverse causes for escaping right here – grief, a demanding job, the stress of navigating life throughout a pandemic. However as Katy explains, it doesn’t matter if you happen to’re within the crux of a disaster or not – addressing psychological well being is important for everybody.
One of many large spotlight of the weekend feeds the physique in addition to the soul, warming us up after our cold-water remedy periods – Thera-Sea’s campfire feasts. The affable Aussie Smoker, Adam Kesacoff, is visitor chef, serving up delectable wood-fired delights from shakshuka for breakfast to roasted salmon and a rainbow of salads for supper.
The recent meals ties into Katy’s subsequent workshop, all about how vitamin and health are two keys to temper. Within the afternoon, native forager Matt Vernon arrives with a wicker basket to steer us on a guided stroll via the timber. We chew on fleshy navelwort leaves, choose ripe hazelnuts and watch as Matt cuts a bolete mushroom in half – its custard-yellow flesh turns a virulent blue as if by magic. The wild bounty we convey again for Adam so as to add to supper is a reminder of the pure vitamin that may be gained from wild crops, in addition to the conscious advantages of a foraging stroll.
Come Sunday afternoon, my thoughts has slipped right into a slower, extra appreciative state of contentment. I’ve slept deeply, eaten effectively, paddled in cooling water and stayed far-off from screens. It looks like an apparent recipe for wellbeing – however it’s taken Katy, and these lovely environment, to remind me of it.
Earlier than we depart, to hike again up the grime observe to actuality, there’s time for another swim. This time, the water is glinting gold, and has been warmed barely by the afternoon solar. We float over the seaweed in a peaceable inexperienced world, a becoming place for Katy to share her ideas on the ability of the ocean: “if you find yourself within the water, you might be current.”
A First Class Return ticket from London Paddington to Truro begins from £101 and a Customary Return ticket begins from £51, from GWR.
A two-night Thera-Sea retreat prices from £315 per individual. The Treehouse (sleeping two) prices from £607.50 per individual, based mostly on two sharing.
The final dates obtainable for 2020 are 6 to eight November. Dates for 2021 embrace 19 to 21 March, 23 to 25 April, 18 to 20 Might, 22 to 24 June, 10 to 12 September, 5 to 7 October, and 5 to 7 November.