In times of trouble I have always turned to nature to cope. I first became aware in my adult life of this strategy when I was a single mum, bringing up my beautiful son who is on the autistic spectrum. Times were tough. Really tough. No money, no food, little help, and sleeping on the floor of my flat. But I learned that by studying astronomy and poetry, looking up at the stars and seeing my troubles as insignificant in the grand scheme of things, helped me to feel better somehow and got me through.
Nature works for me because whenever I felt scared or alone as a child, I would play in the garden and woods at the back of our house. The woods held a magic all their own, there was a wonder and a freedom there and I could just be me with no pressure. The trees understood, they could just hold me in that space. No expectations, no pressure, no judgement. Time would just stop as I created fairylike worlds in my head.
Now I’m working in the field of stress therapy, I know that it’s proven that these things can help to keep our minds healthy. During this flood of sadness and anger across the world right now, there is a lot of fear and aloneness. It is affecting us all to some degree, and it is now more than ever that we need to give ourselves permission to switch off and protect our minds.
A relaxed mind is a happy mind. So here are my top tips for leaning into nature.
Give yourself permission to play and have fun
Go exploring a new path, not knowing where it leads. See what adventures you can have by rambling off the beaten track and notice what different things are around you. I often find a new type of plant flourishing its heart out, or an animal having its breakfast! Cherish these small moments of joy.
Hug the trees
Some people have no one to hug and touch is a fundemental need. Wood is naturally antiseptic and treehugging can feel very therapeutic. Appreciate them as you hug or touch them…They are wise, they are grounded, their roots dig deep into the earth, they are stable and strong and give us our breath. Rejoice in this and look to nourishing your roots through this storm.
Lie on your back in the lush grass or just gaze out of your window and watch the clouds go by, they are mesmerising and always changing. Find the shapes. Sharing this experience with a loved one can be fun, comparing what you see to what they see. Notice that life means constant change as we grow and there is nothing to feel anxious about.
Immerse yourself in a wood, or a forest and absorb it through all your senses. Listen to the harmony of the birdsong, see the variety of plants all around you, feel the warm sun rays or the breath of wind. Run a leaf through your fingers and smell the perfume. Walk slowly or just sit and let your breathing slow to the rhythm of the nature around you.
Bring something home
gather something from the forest floor that has been discarded to remind you of your experiences. This is particularly great after a storm and It is amazing what you can find. Acorns, fallen leaves, feathers, empty eggshells, fir cones – something that appeals to you. Take it home and leave it somewhere where you notice it every day. Replace it regularly or add it to a jar so you can collect all these experiences and revisit them when feeling blue.
Have fun, stay safe, be well and best wishes to you all from here at #chezwoods.
Much love and light always