Yes, sessions take place whatever the weather, as long as it is safe to do so. Sessions may be cancelled if there are extreme weather conditions. Being outside whatever the weather is also a metaphor for life, because sometimes it rains in our lives and we want to support you to carry on walking whatever the weather.
No. We know that most dog lovers like being outside and it would seem like a perfect opportunity to bring this important part of your life along, however a Fresh Air Fridays session is time just for you. For both your sake and that of other attendees dogs are not allowed.
You need to be comfortable and warm. We recommend that you wear layers, there is a lot of stopping and starting and when we stand around you will be grateful for warm clothing. Please be aware of the weather, bring a coat or possibly suntan lotion. Comfortable footwear is important, you will be walking off paths some of the time. Your facilitator will advise you as to whether it is likely to be muddy, but we recommend footwear that can get dirty.
Most facilitators meet near somewhere you can access a toilet before and after the session, but often there are no toilets on route. If this is important to you, you may want to check it out with the facilitator running your session.
Generally we walk only a couple of miles at a slow, steady pace. Some sessions will involve styles and hills. Your facilitator will advise you of the specifics of their session. It is important you let your facilitator know if you have any questions, concerns or requirements around your fitness.
No this is not counselling. Fresh Air Fridays sessions are an opportunity for you to explore things for yourself, guided by a skilled facilitator. It is a coaching group and though others will share their experience no one will tell you what to do or give you advice. We encourage and practice a specific type of listening on our sessions called ‘Listening Without Commentary’. That listening, along with the space, support and skills that we share on all our progammes, supports the development of Mental and Emotional Resilience.
In a face to face session your facilitator will lead a group of participants through a breathing exercise, the exploration of some wellbeing thoughts and ideas and a meditation. All whilst outside in nature. There will also be a tea break during the 2.5-3 hour session.
On your first session you will be asked to fill out an attendance form. On this form you are asked to tell your facilitator anything that may impede your ability to participate in the session. We recommend that you speak with your facilitator prior to your first session if you have any concerns. Anything that you share will be treated with the strictest of confidentiality.
It is now well researched and documented that being outside is good for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Being outside, especially in nature, alters how we feel and so we actively encourage people to get outside as often as possible. You can find out more on our Total Wellbeing - Get Outside page.
We recommend having a conversation so we can discuss the best approach for your organisation. This could be any mixture of us coming in and delivering programmes, employees doing self led or supported audio programmes or training up facilitators within your organisation, depending on what you are seeking to achieve. We'd love to speak with you so do contact us.
Research and our experience tells us that in groups of more than 12 people only the most vocal will contribute to discussions. We believe it is important that everybody's voice is heard and that the group is small enough for individuals to build effective relationships with one another.
The Fresh Air Fridays programmes are developed from tried and tested methodologies to teach skills and explore ideas that are pivotal to good mental and emotional wellbeing. Everything we do is experiential and participants reach their own conclusions and strategies meaning that what they take away sticks. Many of the tools are repeated in each session meaning that people form habits around practices that work for them. For example we don’t tell them that being outside is good for you, but after a couple of weeks, they tell us that they have started feeling so much better from being outside for an hour once a week. Visit our For Organisations page for more details and to watch a video to give you a flavour of what we do.