Reclaiming our time //
In the solace of nature, women can find new strength to reassert control over their lives and reconnect with several important truths—including the need to reclaim our time.
In a world where “Girl Boss” culture perpetuates unrelenting competition—yet pay disparities persist under patriarchal systems, women are conditioned to strive for the relentless pursuit of success. But, this hustle-driven mentality begets an alarming reality: the pervasive time pressure we face limits our ability to care for ourselves, support our families, and simply enjoy our lives.
Distressing statistics from the annual Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey speak for themselves—despite more than twenty years of tracking the data, nearly half of Australian women still feel rushed for time “often” or “almost always.” Not surprisingly, the 35 to 44 age cohort was the most time-strapped with almost half indicating chronic pressure. Given that those with chronic time stress experience worse mental health, lower self-rated health, less physical activity, and lower satisfaction with life, there is a clear and present imperative to change the way we prioritise and share our most precious commodity.
You might wonder where the time goes? According to the 2023 Status of Women Report Card, women are shouldering a shocking 35 hours of unpaid work every week—about nine hours a week more than men. The challenges grow even starker for mothers who discover a sharply escalating amount of unpaid childcare work required following the birth of a child. There’s a reason so many of us keep futilely promising ourselves that “Next week, things will calm down.”
Nature is the answer.
However, amidst the pressures and responsibilities that consume our lives, there is a glimmer of hope, and you can find it waiting in the sun-dappled paths of the Scenic Rim or the long expanses of private beaches that stretch along the coastlines of Kangaroo Island. We’re talking about seeking solace in nature, a scientifically proven place that can actually help make life a little more livable.
And, while the simple pleasures of feeling blades of grass between our toes or the soft give of soil beneath our feet may not provide an instant solution to the challenges we face as women, there is evidence to suggest that prioritizing such experiences can encourage some pretty profound long-term benefits.
A Sanctuary for Personal Growth
Nature allows us to cultivate mental and physical wellbeing through establishing an intimate connection with the natural world. This natural sanctuary allows us to recharge, reflect, and recentre to our own needs amidst the myriad demands we face as caregivers. Through this solace, our emotional well-being is replenished and we can be more present and fulfilled in all of the roles we fill.
Challenging Stereotypes and Negativity
Women encounter an array of societal pressures that contribute to feelings of disempowerment on an almost daily basis. Idealized beauty standards, gender role stereotypes, sexual objectification in the media, and higher risks of gender-based violence are just a few examples. Escaping into nature counteracts these negative influences by creating a space where we are free to thrive by escaping societal constraints and expectations.
The Power of Sisterhood in Nature
There’s something about the natural environment that fosters a sense of liberation, enabling us to be wild, free, and unapologetically ourselves. Without the constant thrum of distractions and deadlines, we tap into our intuition and unleash our true potential. When women come together in nature, a powerful sisterhood is formed.
In the embrace of nature, we can find new strength to reassert control over our lives and reconnect with several important truths—including the need to reclaim our time. As the renowned naturalist and writer, John Muir, beautifully stated, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than [s]he seeks.” This sentiment rings particularly true for women, who find in nature a profound sense of liberation and empowerment.
It’s true that closing the gender pay gap, dismantling stereotypes, and just keeping dirty clothes off the floor will likely remain hard-fought battles yet to be won. However, by prioritizing ourselves and reconnecting with the restorative power of nature, we can cultivate resilience, find solace, and embark on fantastic journeys of personal growth that allow us to provide leadership and a new way forward for the mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who follow in the trail we blaze.
As we walk through the storied “golden light” of the Scenic Rim, or feel the salty sea breeze of Kangaroo Island on our faces, we tap into a timeless wellspring of inspiration, wisdom, and empowerment. Nature is—and should always be—the special place where we can shed societal expectations and reconnect with our true selves.
Let us heed Muir’s words and immerse ourselves in the transformative power of nature, for it holds the key to rewriting the narrative, unlocking our inner strength, and reclaiming our time.
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