Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Today was tough but I found serenity in the little things...I could not sleep as my mind wrestled with the impacts of the choices I had made over the years, (often happens with people in recovery and at the strangest times!!) plagued with guilt and an intense desire to stay in bed....I felt hopeless, inadequate, and mentally weak.
That morning around 5am when I had given up my futile attempts at sleep and when the sun was bright enough that I could see walking around outside, I pushed myself to get up and get outside. My cabin was surrounded by beauty that had been unkempt, I spent time tending to my work and the yard and focused on each task at hand one at a time. My garden was overgrown, my flowers withered, and the grass in desperate need of care. It was also getting cold out, and so I started with cutting wood outside while my dogs ran the yard. I got my gardening tools and just started on my front beds. I pulled weeds, hand tilled part of my garden, hauled wood, and afterwards with my almost black hands from the dirt, sat on my porch with my tea and just watched the dogs, looked up at the sky, and felt the peace of being in the moment, out in nature, and welcomed the stillness.
There has been research done which shows the profound impact on our mental health just from engrossing yourself in nature. It eases anxiety, promotes productivity and mindfulness-all crucial elements to recovery in any aspect. The Institute for Natural Medicine discusses the ways in which the power of nature promotes healing through various ways "The healing power of nature recognizes the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. This begins at the cellular level. The building blocks of the body — cells — are dynamic, living units that are constantly working toward self-repair and regeneration."
Even if you live in the city, where forests and hiking are not readily available, going outside and sitting in a park, going barefoot in the grass, and practicing stillness in nature is a form of meditation, one which promotes better mental health and allows you to be present in the moment. Take note of your surroundings: what colour are the trees? Are there clouds in the sky, and what do they look like? How does the wind feel on your skin? What do you hear? By using all five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing its a form of grounding which by personal experience can do wonders to take you out of your own head and worries and be with yourself and nature in the present moment. It allows you a chance to recharge.
Get outside everyday, make it purposeful and a part of your healing routine. Your recovery and mental and emotional health will thank you. Its just one part of the healing process, but one which allows us to relish in the beauty of our surroundings rather than the darkness of any pain your enduring.