Wild: Occurring, growing, or living in a natural state.
-The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
Wild Living is my updated mission. Think of it as ‘Holistic Living Plus’. After a while ‘Holistic Living’ felt too ‘hippy.’ As much as the word holistic has value, it has been commandeered by many groups who tarnish its name to sell woo products and incomplete lifestyles. In fact, an acquaintance of mine wrote an amazing article about this, and I will refer you to her work: I used to be a holistic nutritionist.
Wild Living is about building a lifestyle that fulfills our primal needs as humans. Why wild? Wild infers freedom, and freedom requires you to assume risk. Risk can be daunting, but it is easier to take-on risks when you know yourself to be anti-fragile and capable. To do this, one must seek challenges to prove oneself against. With each challenge you become more competent and confident in yourself. Aside from testing ourselves, we also need to lay a strong foundation on which to build our life. Wild Living is a movement to inspire the primal nature in each of us. The goal is to motivate you to seek your Wild Life, embrace it, and share it with the world. This is a movement of self-empowerment. Reclaim the whole animal inside of you, and run with it. We in the West have spent our lives removing ourselves from the Wild. It has been a long time since we have had all of our parts working together. It is time to put the pieces together.
The key to remodelling your lifestyle is to start with simple habits. For example, you could begin by getting two-hours in nature every weekend. Then, after you have built one new habit over a month or two, start on another. You don’t need to go full Thoreau and live for two-years in a shack you built in the woods (although that works too).
The little habits we create (e.g. going to the gym and what we do there) either improve or detract from our ability to thrive and enjoy life. Your mindset, physical cultivation, and education are all elements of training that we can improve upon to get more out of life. My view is: the training we do should not take away from our life but allow us to excel at what we love doing as long as we love doing it! Training isn’t just a term for the gym; training is everything we do in life to survive the trials and ordeals that are thrown at us. We can never predict an ordeal and so we must always be training.
Below I will discuss the elements that I feel allow you to live Wild, including the Four Pillars of Health: sleep, diet, exercise, and stress management.
Sleep: Make no compromises. This is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for recovery, creating memory, learning skills, and health. You need eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
Stress: Dominate your stress. Stress is a catalyst for change. It can be the stimulus that makes you stronger or it can slowly break you down.
Exercise: Move daily. You don’t have to make this a big deal or separate from your daily life. Movement IS life! The primary aspect of living is movement, and the complete lack of it is death. Every day you should incorporate as much general movement as possible. If you have specific physical goals then target your movement practices towards them. Once you have integrated daily movement into your life you can work on building your physical capacity and strength. As Georges Hebert said, ‘Be strong to be useful.’
Diet: I’m not going to argue specific dietary ideologies. Find a diet that covers all your nutritional bases and eat an amount that covers your energy expenditure. My clients have found the strongest results from those that lean towards lower carbs and whole foods. Most people eat way too many processed foods and too little protein.
‘O, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.’ – Roman Payne
Sunlight: Sun exposure is important for our circadian rhythms, our mental health, and our immunity. Live your life in the sun as much as possible, but don’t get burnt.
Read: Expand your mind by collecting experiences. We can’t do everything in a single lifetime, but we can learn from other’s experiences. Books are the records of these experiences. The more you are aware of, the more choices you can make!
“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and Titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Nature Bathe: We are natural beings. We are animals with fancy homes, but we are still animals and need exposure to wild spaces to be healthy. At every opportunity, get outside! In fact, take your exercise outside.
‘I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.’ – DH Lawrence
Live fully, drop dead: At some point we all will die, and the biggest regret of the dying is a lack of living. Like Mark Sisson says: live long, drop dead. I first heard this saying nearly 10-yrs ago and it stuck with me ever since. This idea of a full, healthy, vibrant, life and a quick death without years of decay resonates with me.
I have been working on this concept for a long time, and I will continue to work on it. The underlying element is about building a lifestyle that is sustainable and fulfilling. Figure out what lights your fire and keep it burning!
Join the discussion below and share your thoughts on Wild Living! Use #Wildliving to share your Wild moments!
Coach Josh Wood, BHSc, is a fitness coach and outdoorsman who brings together fitness training and the real world. Working as a Wilderness Guide in Tasmania, he strives to help people find their passion for activity, and loves introducing folks to the art of backpacking.