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My favourite time of day is dawn, watching the tongues of sunlight creep across the side of a desert gorge, transforming the grey lavenders to ochre and highlighting the stark white trunks of the eucalypts. It’s seeing the dew drops shimmering on the orb spider’s web and hearing the morning cacophony of rosellas heralding the morning.

My favourite time of day is morning. I love the ritual of plunging into the backyard pool for a quick wake-me-up. The sound of the kettle boiling to make my first cup of tea and the growing background hum of traffic transporting sleepy workers to their day’s destination.

My favourite time of day is lunchtime. It’s time to pause, to stand still outside, even just for a moment, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of freshly brewed coffee, of café workers chatting with their clientele, of bustle and busyness and the laughter of a shared joke.

My favourite time of day is the late afternoon. The golden light at this time of day dappling the trees, reminding me the day is not done yet. Watching our dogs hurtling around the park, enthralled by chasing a ball and each other, and witnessing their unfettered joy.

My favourite time of day is a day full of sunlight, clear blue skies and whispers of a gentle breeze. It’s the time of stormy grey clouds, of the sun bravely attempting to peek through, creating shafts of light over the ocean, of horizontal rain lashing the earth and the wind whipping in my ears.

When’s yours?

Every time of day that brings light is my favourite. Sunlight is life, the provider of everything we need to survive and yet too often, our busyness, our need to attend to all those myriads of things on our overgrown to-do lists, blinds us to remembering the savour that sunlit moment.

 

Sunlight is essential to our circadian rhythms.

Light tells us when we need to be awake. The dark tells us it’s time for sleep. This basic rule has shaped us in many ways, including our changing levels of mental alertness, our body temperature and hormones.

Spending time outside is important for vitamin D production, regulating your mood, strengthening the immune system, and even reducing the risk of children developing myopia (short-sightedness).

Escaping from the labyrinths we have created as workplaces, entertainment spaces, and shopping malls is vital to our health and well-being. Yet, it’s been reported that we spend over 90% of our time awake indoors and sometimes without even the solace of a window to let in natural light.

The importance of eating healthy food, getting sufficient physical activity into our day, having enough good quality sleep, spending time with friends and family, managing our stress and avoiding harmful substances that can harm us, including smoking and excess alcohol, goes without saying.

But let’s remember the other element we need to thrive. It’s called time in nature, and it’s time to return to what nature provides us: life, joy, inner peace and creativity.

What’s your favourite time of day, and what role does nature play here for you?

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.