ELLIE Goulding has described how being outdoors has helped her with a lifetime of anxiety and, more recently, saved her from post-natal depression.
The singer, songwriter and activist also explained how, sometimes, just putting on her coat and boots, then simply ‘putting one foot in front of the other’ and getting out into the countryside always makes her feel better.
Speaking as a guest editor on Radio 4 Today, the 37-year-old also interviewed Coldplay’s Chris Martin about his experience with the outdoors.
“I think it’s all worth us reconnecting with nature – I’ve said that so many times. It’s something that has helped me get through so many tours and studio sessions and whatever else I’ve done over the past few years,” she said.
“Reconnecting back with nature has been my number one thing so, yeah, you protect what you love, right?”
Chris Martin responded: “Yes, very much so. And, you know, from touring, anywhere you go with trees and stuff feels uplifting; and anywhere you go where everything is grey and concrete just feels a bit more worrying and less welcoming”
The mother-of-one then described the times as a child when she discovered her deep connection with the outdoors.
“I owe a lot to nature. I grew up in a rural village in Herefordshire and I found such a huge amount of peace and solace in nature,” she explained.
“I shared a bedroom with two of my sisters – the house was teeny tiny – my ultimate joy when I was a kid was getting out on my bike an riding through the village.
“I knew every field, every lane, every tree. I’d often go down to the horse chestnut tree and hang out there. I felt like I had a particular connection to these things in nature.
“I think this is the thing that has kept me the most grounded in everything I do, and has kept me together, really.
“This job is definitely not for the feint-hearted, and this is the one thing I can always get back to that I know will take me back to a safe place. And it so desperately needs saving and protecting.”
The songstress also expressed her frustration and waning optimism over the UK’s approach to environmental issues.
“I think the most important thing for me, particularly having such young fans, and the things I hear the most are that people feel really hopeless, and there’s a real frustration and worry, because they’re learning in school now about environmental degradation and I think, through that, it’s like re-establishing their connection to nature,” she said.
“And I think the more they do that, the more they worry, knowing it’s not being protected enough.
“To show them things are really happening and it’s not all a complete disaster and we’re doomed – there are things happening – I think the sense of urgency just still isn’t there, especially with our government.”
Ellie Goulding on anxiety
The star has been open about her struggles with anxiety, which she has suffered with from a young age since her parents divorced when she was five years old.
“I’ve always had to revisit it. I’ve had these mad times in my life. The idea that this thing is always there – there is always this constant I can go back to. I can always go back to the same tree that will still be the same, or the same field… it saved me,” she said.
“When I really think of the times I’ve struggled – I struggled a bit with post-natal depression – and I say that kind of reluctantly because I feel women’s health issues are put under this umbrella, and I would desperately research what was going on with me.
“I was losing my mind, and the only thing that would really make me feel better – other than a really big cuddle with my son – was putting a coat on, even if was just over my pyjamas, get my boots on and go out. Even if all I could do was put one foot in front of the other, I would walk out into a field and feel some kind of life come back into me and the numbness starting to ease off.
“So I really do owe it to nature for that, because those were the moments where I wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t sure how to bring myself back to some kind of reality and to be there for my son and be a good mum. So to have that resource, to have something that I could just walk out into was, well, yeah, I suppose I can say it did save me.”
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