When going through IVF, we are all looking for ways to cope with the emotional and physical toll it takes on our bodies
But did you ever think of returning to the countryside to relieve your stress? Well, that is exactly what television presenter Julia Bradbury did.
In a first-person piece for the Daily Mail, Julia charts how walking in the countryside helped get her through not only her miscarriages and IVF journey but her battle with breast cancer and her mental health struggles.
She said, “Quite simply, walking has curative powers. It improves sleep, lowers anxiety, boosts brainpower and even lengthens life. I used it to help me through the breast cancer that upended my life three years ago, as well as IVF and miscarriages, grief and mental health issues.
“During my 30 years of making television shows, walking has taken me to the world’s furthest corners, but it is still my little garden and the old London plane tree outside my bathroom window that I love the most.
“You don’t need big landscapes or seat-of-the-pants travel adventures to benefit from ‘green therapy’.
Julie tells of a time she had been offered a unique experience of walking through the volcanic highlands of Iceland, a huge step away from her long career presenting Countryfile.
At the time, aged 38, she decided to go for it, but she was hiding a secret. She suspected she might be pregnant and described the moment she took the pregnancy test she had hidden in her backpack high up in the Icelandic mountains,
She said, “I was 38 and had just had keyhole surgery for endometriosis that had thus far stopped me from becoming a mother.
“At long last, I had a reason – and a possible cure – for my apparent infertility, and this was the month I might finally have a baby on the way.
“Halfway up a volcano, I found a shepherd’s hut. Hiding in a log-drop toilet but still partly exposed the elements I peed on a stick.
“It felt like the longest 120 seconds of my life, and when the blue line stayed stubbornly single – no baby – I could feel the anxiety seeding inside me. Was I ever going to fall pregnant?
“The drama of the scenery reflected the turmoil inside me. I could not sit or calm my heart, even with deep breathing. My body was burning with anxious energy.
“I let the sheer physicality of the next 20 kilometres exhaust me, devoting those hours to processing what had just happened.
“What followed was the perfect example of how landscapes can reset our personal view of ourselves. My problems were smaller and more manageable.”
Julia also charted her battle with breast cancer and how she used nature to get her through it.
She said: “Five days after my mastectomy in October 2021, my sister and my partner helped me downstairs from my bed. I was wrapped in a blanket, unsteady on my feet and woozy with painkillers. But the pull of the garden was strong; I could feel it through the big glass doors at the end of my kitchen.
“Tentatively, I made my way through them into a glorious autumn day of crunchy leaves, scudding skies, and mellow sun.
“I sunk down in my chair and felt the full wattage of Mother Nature.”
Julia’s new book, Walk Yourself Happy: Find Your Path to Health and Healing in Nature, will be published on September 14.