As a child I looked forward to getting in through the door from school and tearing those bloody socks and shoes off. Even now, I hate the feeling of tight clothing, especially socks. I feel uncomfortable with the constant contact between the material and my skin. So when I get home from a night out those tights are off before I can say synthetic fabric.

I see adults putting shoes and socks on their young from the moment there released from the womb. What’s the frickin’ rush? Before a baby has learnt to toddle, they’re in daps, Converses, mini Timberlands… In some cultures, one may never put a pair of shoes on but I bet they don’t get a verruca! But then again we live in a Westernised, urbanised environment that requires all aspects of precautions. We can’t make a toddler obviously to go barefoot down a high-street, but then when they have their moment of contact with the earth in a day, I urge they go bare-footed.

grass on feet, a great feeling

You’re skin needs to breath, it needs vitamin D, it needs to connect to the electrons in the earth that run through the body protecting from symptoms such as inflammation, pain, fatigue and poor sleep. This process is called ‘earthing‘. Stress particularly intrigues me, because when you think of the natural world you think of calm and the soothing of anxieties and daily stress. The muscles and bones in your feet aren’t used how they are designed to be so this explains the foot problems we get throughout life. The play type ‘Mastery’ describes the manipulation of the natural environment around you such as digging holes in the dirt, channelling water flow or building a dam. This exposure to earth and natural materials is strongly recommended by the writer Richard Louv, who describes children as suffering from ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. Now this is an ongoing debate. Not only does the term medicalise the problem we clearly have with some kids not being exposed to the natural world and are being described as ‘battery children’- but also I do believe the term is adulterating the idea of childhood and we are stating what can be deficit, and what is ‘natural’. These are big statements about an adult-interpretation of what a happy, healthy child should be doing.

Does this count as a daily dose of nature?

I’m not sure about this deficit term, its a bit OTT for me, but I will fight for more bare feet! Bare toes in the winter, in the mud, on the playground, in the gravel! I have seen kids freak out at the thought of taking their restrictive, sweaty shoes off and it makes me think about the lack of connection we – not just children – but adults and the elderly have with the ground. They all need to take a leaf out of Meynell’s book and get them bad boys out!

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