As I mentioned in another blog post, when our family moved to North Carolina a year ago, the beauty of the place inspired me to better care for the environment.
More honestly, I was struggling with anxiety and a bit of depression upon our arrival. I felt sad most of my pregnancy and had a tough case of the baby blues in my postpartum period. I wasn’t working out like I had been and I stopped wanting to socialize with friends. The sadness during postpartum was then compounded with the stress of moving our family of five across the country, I just wasn’t in a great place upon our arrival. I began to regularly go on walks and runs along the beautiful wooded trails and I discovered that I would return home happier and inspired. Each day lifted my mood and eventually, the feeling stuck.
While I always knew that nature had healing properties, I recently learned it was a studied form of therapy. The field of ecopsychology, sometimes referred to as nature therapy, studies the positive changes nature can have on a person’s psyche. Ecopsychology experts believe the health of the planet is inextricably linked to the psychological health of humanity, both individually and collectively (Theodore Roszak).
When I started connecting to nature, it healed a part of me and in return I felt compelled to do more to help it heal and maintain its beauty.
Practices like composting, improving our recycling, and reducing our single-use plastic consumption slowly helped me feel I was giving back to the Earth. When you appreciate nature’s beauty and healing properties, protecting its health is a natural reaction.
There have been many times this past year when I needed to connect to nature to overcome struggles from anxiety, grief or loneliness. I loved this connection that I felt everyday in North Carolina. I will miss the immediate calm felt by simply opening the door to our backyard and taking in North Carolina’s breathtaking beauty. But knowing this effect doesn’t require a huge yard or a nature trail gives me assurance that when I need it, nature will be around the corner wherever I go.
Plus, I can’t wait to check out all of Houston’s natural beauty that I haven’t previously experienced!