By Julianne Haycox
Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inside of our homes, workplaces, schools and cars the air is thick with the moment to moment news of COVID-19. In this confinement, our minds become filled with scattered thoughts, our breaths become shallow and our bodies tense.
While we need to understand what is happening in and around the world and certainly within our communities, we also need to take care of ourselves and boost our immune systems in order to stay healthy and do our part to stop the spread of the virus.
During times of suffering, challenge or loss, when my insides have felt heavy and stagnant, and my mind smothered by thoughts or fears, I chose the elixir of life; the spacious and peaceful natural world. I gave myself this healing gift today. I returned home from a busy day only to hear the ping of texts and the noise of the television scattering the latest closures, containments and opinions. I walked out on the commotion and into the quiet balance of nature. I took in a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air and I intentionally felt the warmth of the sunshine on my face. A lovely calm billowed throughout my body. An hour-long walk with my dog was a simple antidote that allowed my mind to clear and my body to settle.
During this time of uncertainty, try something new that brings you outside. Plant a pot with fresh flowers that you can see from inside your window. The colorful sight will bring you joy and having your hands in the dirt while planting will bring a sense of grounding. Local garden centers are now selling cole crops or cool weather vegetables, which means you can get outside and plant a small plot or even a pot of fresh, organic lettuces, kale, arugula and more! Having the ability to grow and harvest your own fresh vegetables, especially now, is so rewarding and nourishing! After you harvest your first delicious bowl of fresh greens, take note that lettuce, arugula and kale are the gifts that keep on giving! Once you cut and enjoy your first pick, these plants will continue to grow and bring another bowl of bountiful nutrients! I call these “cut and come again veggies!” If you simply don’t have the outdoor space to plant and grow your own vegetables or flowers, you can always pick up a daffodil plant at your local grocery store and keep it on your counter to bring you a dose of sunshine and color!
Remember that our children, young or adult, pick up on our stress and we all know that stress attacks our immune systems. This is another important reason to take it outside and enjoy each other’s company while soaking in some sun in the open air. Enjoying walks together, exploring that park that has been on your list to visit or having fun with a treasure hunt in nature are all ways to create memories and share some beneficial bonding time. Simply getting into the habit of walking every day and encouraging each other by walking together, we boost our immune systems. An act so simple yet so healing and renewing should not be taken for granted, take a walk and give yourself the gift of health and a quiet mind.
Step outside and allow the wonder and ease of nature to lift you out of the weight of the world. Catch your breath, slow it down, shift your thoughts into a place of healing harmony. Find your balance in the breeze or in the song of a bird. Let your calmness outwardly resonate so others around you feel the calm. Smile at people as you pass by, this small gesture of kindness can bring a needed sense of peace and comfort to others.
Be well in your body and your thoughts.
Julianne Haycox is the author of the new memoir Conversations with Grace (Koehler, March 2020), a book of inspiration and personal growth. For more, visit www.juliannehaycox.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.