Celebrity Secrets caught up with TV veteran Julia Bradbury – who revealed how the outdoors has not only “saved” her but continues to help her cancer recovery.
First off, can you tell us what the outdoors means to you?
I’m always at my happiest in the great outdoors. It has so many mental health benefits, including lowering stress and lifting mood. I try to get outside every single day no matter what the weather, which is why the Peter Storm range is perfect for me (and it looks great)!
What would your greatest day spent outdoors look like?
The brilliant thing about nature is that even though it’s constant, it’s ever-evolving which I admire. So there isn’t a ‘greatest day in the outdoors’ for me – I just need to be outdoors every day – even if that’s in the local park. Twenty minutes with the trees and taking in the sounds and smells of the natural world revitalises me.
What would make for an unbeatable experience outside and what has been your greatest UK adventure to date?
My greatest UK adventure to date is the next one. I had a fantastic time filming a walk in Essex recently, in a place called Tollesbury, which was utterly lovely. Not really a great big adventure but I think getting as much ‘green’ in our daily lives is the important thing.
You’ve bravely opened up about your cancer diagnosis; has it changed your connection with and perception of the great outdoors, and how you have been able to enjoy it?
Honestly, it’s saved me, kept me sane, been my therapist and continues to help my recovery in ways I can’t explain.
What advice would you give to those suffering from physical or mental illnesses to support them in getting outside?
It’s been widely researched and just 120 minutes a week in green spaces has been shown to have huge benefits on our physical and mental health. Humans have evolved in green spaces and we are not meant to be spending hours hunched over a blue screen… Do yourself a huge favour and make sure you take regular breaks and get that much needed vitamin D from daylight, which helps sets your circadian rhythm, refreshes your concentration and helps optimise your hormones. It’s vital for mental health and we all need to move, to stay on top of our physical health.
As a family, how do you balance time spent online with time away from devices and what tips can you give to parents and kids on limiting screen time?
We’re just busy and involved with our kids. I talk to them about my work and include them in some of it – getting them to help me research stuff and showing them the places I may be filming. We read a lot together, plant trees, grow indoor plants… if you show children how life grows, I think they’re intrinsically interested in the process and results.
What are your favourite things about your job? Is there anyone in the outdoors industry that inspires you and why?
I feel very grateful – I think it’s the best job in the world. I’ve met fantastically interesting people, I’ve travelled through some of the most interesting and beautiful landscapes in the world and despite the insecurity of not knowing what’s next, it’s incredibly rewarding. I still feel as if I have so much to learn about everything.
I’m a super fan of Suzanne Simard – a professor who made the ground-breaking discovery that trees talk to each other in highly complex ways and Octavia Hill who was a social reformer and ardent campaigner to protect various landscapes and special places across the UK. She helped found the National Trust and stopped lots of green spaces from being built on, in the name of ‘progress’ because she understood the value of these spaces for everyone – whatever their background – even in urban settings.
For you, what would make an ideal day trip or day out?
Homemade sarnies (fat slices of sourdough please), a sunny day, and my kids set to go for a woodland walk and picnic.
Checklist collaborated with Go Outdoors for this interview, which you can find here.
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