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De-stressing in Nature

by Lisa NelsonOncology Social Worker and End-of-Life DoulaFebruary 8, 2022View more posts from Lisa Nelson

Nature has always been an important part of my life.

Growing up in Jamaica, West Indies, I have always felt a deep connection with nature. I enjoyed walking barefoot in open fields of grass, “banana walks”, and fruit orchards. Nothing felt better than my feet being fully grounded in the dirt between my toes.

Oftentimes being in nature also included being alongside grazing animals. Walking in the warm sun surrounded by rich foliage often had me sharing the path with a few farm animals. Horses, dogs, goats and a few chickens. Nature was always a wonderful way for me to connect as a child; and now even more so as an adult.

Being an oncology social worker and a new end-of-life doula, my life is often consumed with stories of regrets, fears, sadness, loss, and death.

There are also beautiful stories of empathy, compassion, joy, vulnerability, grace and strength.

It is through nature that I’ve found much solace despite these challenges.

Nature restores, soothes, calms and reconnects me to things that are of importance to me. It also helps to calm and relieve the stress I experience in my day to day life. I often feel and see an immediate increase in pleasant feelings and decrease in intense ones.

The joy of fresh air in my face never gets old. The wind, the air, and deep breaths ground me.

The gift of life, fresh life-sustaining air pouring through my nostrils, often causes me to stand still. It gives me time to take it all in.

Doing away with the troubles that consumed me earlier in the day.

Being in nature allows me to be absorbed by intricate nature scenes distracting me from pain and discomfort. I get to lose myself in folds of flowers, animals and trees. Catching sight of a mother bird calling on her chick as the sun starts to set. Sitting by a lake listening to the rustling waves, watching seagulls command the winds; it brings me much joy.

It inspires me in many ways, de-stressing and reconnecting.

Reconnecting not only to myself but to others; family, friends and the clients and patients I serve and support.

With all the challenges of our daily lives, it is important more than ever to seek opportunities to reconnect to nature.

Memories, hopes and future plans seem to all fall into place being in the gift of nature.

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