All posts by Sue Thomas

Add wood to your digital life and de-stress TIP 2/7 Series 2

Why is there so much plastic and metal in digital culture? What about wood and other natural fabrics? Why so many straight lines? Why not curves and circles?

Computer kit made from wood can connect our digital lives to the natural world and help us feel and perform better. Just as architects design houses with turf roofs, and interior designers create water features and green walls inside buildings, we should be applying the principles of technobiophilia to the hardware and software we make.

This week I’ve found you some wooden techie items which are very affordable and make excellent presents. They are also nice little treats for yourself :)

Wireless Charger by Keple. Bamboo. £12.99*
Wireless Charger by Keple. Bamboo. £12.99*

 

 RoseFlower® iPhone 6S 4.7'' Wooden Case - Rosewood Compass - Natural Handmade Bamboo / Wood Cover £12.99*
RoseFlower® iPhone 6S 4.7” Wooden Case – Rosewood Compass – Natural Handmade Bamboo / Wood Cover £12.99*
Sengu 2.4GHz SG-KG201-N Full Bamboo Handmade Wireless keyboard(the British version) £27.99*
Sengu 2.4GHz SG-KG201-N Full Bamboo Handmade Wireless keyboard(the British version) £27.99*
Sengu SG-MG95-N 2.4GHz Bamboo Wireless Optical Mouse £15.99*
Sengu SG-MG95-N 2.4GHz Bamboo Wireless Optical Mouse £15.99*

 

Artis Large Chunky Handmade Crafted Bamboo Wooden Calculator £14.99*

 

* Price at time of going to press

This is one of a series of tips I’m posting every Tuesday for the next few weeks, highlighting Christmas gifts and activities which promote digital wellbeing. There are gifts you can enjoy making yourself, as part of your own tech/nature practice, and gifts to buy for the geeky people in your life.

Check back on Tuesday for the next tip. To make sure you don’t miss out, join my mailing list.

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Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital AgeBuying for geeky friends or family? Here’s the perfect fireside read:  Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: how to feel better without logging off.

Forest Bathing – how to find your regular sit spot

Forest bathing is very much in the news lately. I researched it whilst writing Technobiophilia and I also recommend it in Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age. Most of the techniques I’ve seen involve a fair bit of walking and wandering interspersed with sitting but this is the first time I’ve come across the idea of finding a  place to sit and returning to it regularly for days, weeks, or months, until you become almost a part of it. That seems very appealing.

I found it at In My Nature , the website of a Melbourne, Australia, based company offering a range of retreats including forest bathing. You’ll find lots to read on the site, but here’s a brief excerpt about this interesting forest bathing practice taken from Make your sit spot practice private and intimate.

Go alone

Find time when your chores are done and you can slip away alone. Then quietly approach your sit spot and you’ll notice more. Having established a sit spot routine, you will soon find incredible things happening around you and with you: maybe an echidna will come out of the shrubs and feed a few meters next to you!

Sit for at least 20 minutes – quietly

It’s a practice of being completely present, opening all the senses to become aware of all that is going on in the environment. It takes time for animals to feel safe again to come out and continue with their daily routines. The other part to this routine is about sitting, about stillness. Focus on improving your sit spot and your observation skills. By being a quiet, unobtrusive guest you will learn to make yourself welcome again, as an accepted member of the natural community.

Go to your sit spot at different times, in all kinds of weather

To fully get to know your sit spot, go there at different times of day. Depending on the time of day you will observe different animals and different behavior patterns. Notice the different birds, flowers and animals through the seasons. Big umbrellas are good for rainy but also very sunny days!

Be comfortable and learn to be still

Sit quietly and comfortably as this is the best way to allow the natural world to get to know you as well. After a while, birds and animals may approach you with curiosity. Allow yourself a few minutes to start noticing. Once you sit quietly long enough, the birds accept the fact that you are there and there for good. As they return to their daily tasks, a previously hidden dimension of your landscape opens up. Simply try listening firs to different bird songs until you can distinguish between them.

Read the rest here.

Featured Image: Sit Spot Woman, taken from the article

Make something with your hands TIP 1/7, Series 2

In September I posted a series of tips to help you find your tech/nature balance. They turned out to be pretty popular, so I’m going to share some more.

Every Tuesday for the next seven weeks I will post a weekly tip about Christmas gifts and activities which promote digital wellbeing.

There will be gifts you can enjoy making yourself, as part of your own tech/nature practice, and gifts to buy which the geeky people in your life might enjoy.

TIP 1/7: MAKE SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS.  HOW LONG IS IT SINCE YOU LAST DID THAT?

make something with your hands
Right-click to save and share

The first is a simple suggestion that you make some of your gifts yourself.  The illustration here shows a pottery wheel, but of course it could be anything. When did you last spend time and attention on creating something lovely from natural materials? Clay, wood, yarn, fabric, paper, glass, metal…  there are so many ways to handcraft simple gifts using skills we may have learned years, even decades, ago.

For example, this summer I started sewing again. I used to make all kinds of clothes for my daughters and myself, but last August was the first time I’d touched a paper pattern since around 1985. It was fascinating to feel my fingers remember how to pin the fragile sheets of paper onto the material, how to tack in the darts, cut, stitch and assemble. After three decades, I revived the sensations of spinning the wheel of the sewing machine to start it up; of guiding the fabric beneath the foot, and of gently following the curves of the pattern. It was as if a complete process had been unlocked from the chambers of my brain and was  suddenly there again, ready to start up. It was a wonderful feeling, and one I plan to repeat.

Which skills have you left unused for years? Could you revive them now to craft hand-made presents using natural materials? The act of re-engaging that knowledge will not just increase your own tech/nature balance, but will also culminate in a thoughtful (and hopefully beautiful!) gift.   These days, when we can purchase almost anything we need, it is the gifts we don’t buy which can often mean the most. It’s about reconnecting to the physical tangible universe in a world where so much around us is abstract.

If you like the idea, it’s best to start soon because if you’re rusty, you’ll need space to screw up, relearn, and try again. There’s still plenty of time, so be patient and enjoy the pleasures of stimulating those dormant neural pathways!

I hope you enjoy these 7 tips. Right-click on the image to save and share with your friends. Check back on Tuesday for the next one or join my mailing list  to make sure you don’t miss out.

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Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital AgeBuying for geeky friends or family? Here’s the perfect fireside read:  Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: how to feel better without logging off.