Hello everyone! Today I would like to talk a little bit about why I participate in and love nature therapy. Nature therapy to me is going outdoors, either just in my backyard or out to a trail/our city forest, without any distractions such as phones and enjoying the scenery and animals. I practice mindfulness, being in the moment when I am outside. Sometimes I go to quiet places, such as deep into our city’s forest, or sometimes into louder busier places, such as the waterfront area.
Sometimes I even hang out in my backyard on my big swing, looking at my garden. It all depends on my preference for the day! Going outdoors is important to me and vital to my personal well-being. In 2019 when I first started learning to live with my new conditions, there were so many months that I spent inside of my house unable to leave. I believe that I spent around 6 or 7 months inside before I went out, this included even going to my yard. This was not only due to my conditions, but the lack of accessibility within and outside of my house.
The lack of a proper wheelchair at the time also contributed. Due to all of this, my mental health took an extremely bad nosedive and I ended up having to seek severe psychiatric help (very proud of myself for doing so!). Being able to go outdoors helps me to feel whole. I am a very nature-oriented person. Nothing beats being able to go outside and sit on my big porch swing in our backyard and breathe fresh air. Sometimes, I remember what it was like being stuck inside, having to breathe the same stagnant air, and how bad it felt. Honestly, it was somewhat choking.
Everything is so colorful and mixed up outside! Seeing everything in bloom and growing outside is such good mental stimulation for me. One of my favorite areas to go to to stimulate my mind is our city’s forest. We recently went on a walk on it, this time just around the trails. The city forest also has a wonderful bog walk which is a path suspended above a beautiful bog area, and is one of my go-tos but we wanted to mix it up this time.
I also had a chance to practice some plant identification skills while on our walk! I have this handy little app on my phone to help me out with this. While we absolutely were eaten alive by mosquitos, stopping every now and then to check out the plants was very worth it. I found some varieties of Dogwood and some very low-growing Partridge Berries.
Honestly, in doing all of this I feel like I am on a scavenger hunt! I was a little sad when we left the city forest this time, but also very relieved as I was COVERED in bug bites. Good ol Plantain was there to help stop the itching, and I’m glad that I found some on the way out. I can’t wait for the next time we go back!
Written by: Chrysanthemum