Nature’s Insightful Kick In the Head
My message on repeat loop: Time spent in nature is therapeutic, mentally and physically. It’s a powerful calming agent for everyday life stress, and for more heavily debilitating PTSD, depression and other conditions.
My family is in a particularly stressful stretch, wondering whether our special needs son will have a meaningful place to go every day now that he is aging out of the school system. It can feel like falling off a cliff.
Combine that with other stresses, and even “bust stress with nature” blogger me fell prey to new anxiety symptoms.
A once-solved benign vertigo problem re-emerged. Severe eye strain due to decades of 14-hour days in front of a computer had my head spinning just glancing at my computer screen. (Updating my computer glasses prescription earlier would have been helpful.) Anxiety on several fronts overlapped to make me feel lightheaded and dizzy.
There was less time to pound my troubles out through hiking boots on a nature trail.
But when I did get out on a trail, I realized that the dizzy, lightheaded feeling disappeared.
Back at my own front door, the feeling would come back again. Get within ten feet of my computer screen, and the vision-related vertigo kicked in. My visual and vestibular systems were in an escalating canine tail-chasing frenzy.
Go outdoors, feel good. Come home, head starts spinning. It was like having a stress allergy to my own house and home office.
Though not easy for our family, we managed a two night trip to enjoy quiet time at a nature reserve and beach area.
Driving down scenic Route 1, I already felt better. By our second night away, capping off two days of walks in beautiful places, I realized I hadn’t been dizzy or lightheaded for a day and a half.
This was a kick-in-the-head message from Mother Nature. Two days away worked wonders. Back home, my anxiety and accompanying head spinning stayed largely away.
Stressed out? Get out for a walk. Look at your porch flowers. Watch a spider in the corner of your window. Stop and take a breath. Realize that the world turns just fine without our frenzied anxiety for fuel.
Amidst the chaos and the darkness, there is always light glowing in the background.
This week’s Hike Notes, Año Nuevo Elephant Seal Adventure, introduces the iconic site where visitors can see elephant seals gather by the thousands in winter, or see smaller groups molting on the beach during other times of year.
Please feel free to share. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photos!
The list of hikes is getting long! Please check the Quick View Hike List or scroll down the main Hikes page to see the current list of hike notes.
New this week:
Hike Notes 67: Año Nuevo Elephant Seal Adventure
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.