Trees

Birch

Within a life span similar to our own (which is relatively short in the tree world), Birch trees can completely transform their environments. A pioneer species, they have the ability to move into a piece of open ground, and transform it into woodland. Their deep roots can draw a vast amount of nutrients up through the earth which they return to the soil in the Autumn when they lose their leaves. This creates favourable conditions for other tree species to move in. For this reason, Birch trees symbolise new beginnings, growth and rebirth.

They are sometimes referred to as ‘nurse trees’ due to the amount of other species that they support and create habitats for, from other trees, to fungi and wildlife.

Their beautiful, easily recognisable white trunks light up any Winter’s day and they are associated with the Winter Solstice and the return of the light after the shortest day. As we enter Spring, Birch are also celebrated as one of the first trees to Spring into life and have many reasons to be celebrated throughout the seasonal cycle.

At this time of year, I love to gather their nutritious young leaves to enjoy fresh in teas and salads as well as dry them for future teas. They are rather bitter in taste and have a wealth of Spring properties – celebrated for detoxing the body and removing the stagnancy of Winter. They are used in the treatment of rheumatism, kidney stones and UTI’s and their cleansing properties can also benefit the skin. As with any plant remedy, is it important to ensure it is right for you individually, researching especially if you have any health conditions and introducing it gently to see how it works for you.

We would love to hear about your experiences or connections with the beautiful Birch tree so feel free to leave us a comment.



Wellbeing

Earthing

Earthing or grounding refers to making bodily contact with the earth through walking bare foot or sitting on the ground.

A recent review highlights the impact of earthing on our health concluding that ‘bodily contact with the Earth’s natural electrical charge stabilizes the physiology at the deepest levels, reduces inflammation, pain and stress, improves blood flow, energy and sleep and generates greater wellbeing.’

Further research also demonstrates a reduction in inflammation and pain in the bodies of individuals who implement earthing techniques alongside changes in the wound healing process and the immune response.

Now I have to say, I love being barefoot at the best of times, feeling the sand in between my toes on the beach, or the soft grass in my garden. During Spring and Summer there are lots of opportunities to do so quite easily, without looking too odd.

In Midwinter however it isn’t so common to see someone walking through a woodland without shoes on.  During our recent Winter Solstice walk through our favourite woodland I felt the urge to free my feet and get them on the ground.

After doing so, I immediately felt more awake. Pulled straight into the present moment, aware of the sensations under my feet (albeit mainly cold) noticing my every step. Energised, I made a commitment to get my feet on the ground more often during the Winter months and I certainly haven’t regretted it so far.

Is it cold? Well yes it is, but I am wrapped up and have a hot drink afterwards so it is certainly manageable. Other alternatives to connect with nature if you don’t fancy going barefoot during the Winter are resting your hands on trees as you walk past them, doing some gardening or having a sea salt bath.

Do you practice earthing? How does it impact you?

Wellbeing, Wheel of the Year

Winter Solstice

We have now arrived at the darkest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Energy and light levels are low. Today the sun stands still at its furthest point, before slowly returning once more with its light and warmth.

It has been a strange year, perhaps the strangest so far so we do hope you find some moments over this time to rest, and tend to yourselves.

Alongside our Winter Solstice/Yule Wellbeing Guide, we have also filmed a short Mindful Moment in Nature video which you can find a link to in the guide.

We have created these with love, to capture the peace we experience in nature and hope they support you too.