Finding My Personal Oasis
Being someone who is ambitious and active, I used to try to do it all, all the time. Conceptually, I knew that balance, wellness, and doing things to take care of my soul were important. I was living life on overdrive, and thought that I could carry with things as they were going.
Every day, I would wake up, iron my work clothes, barely have time for breakfast, and rush off to work. At work, I would typically be sitting in front of a computer all day working on client files. After work, I would catch the transit home, attend a yoga class, hang out with friends or enjoy an evening event. I would typically cook a late dinner, get in a half hour of personal time to read if I was lucky, and then go to bed exhausted, only to repeat it all over the next day.
Eventually, I reached the point where my mood was off, I started suffering with headaches, and I felt staleness in my body. I vividly remember that day. I spoke to my boss about it, and he gave me some great advice. He had a routine of walking to work every day, and I looked up to him as a mentor. He simply told me to take a 30 minute break and go for a walk in the park nearby.
Isn’t it great how sometimes someone tells you exactly what you need to hear when you need to hear it?
I have always loved the outdoors. Whether it is trekking in mountains, or camping along fresh water lakes, I have lots of great memories in nature. Yet somehow, as I’ve grown up into a “working adult”, I forgot how much value nature brings to my life.
Nature puts me in awe of its majestic wonders; the historic marvel of trees and mountains, the soothing stillness or flow of water, the colorful variety of plants and insects, and the playfulness and diversity of the animal kingdom.
I feel rejuvenated and alive when I’m in nature. It calms my mind and eases my tensions. It makes me present, gives me time to reflect and introspect, and to see how futile or nominal my worries often actually are. It also has been a place for me to step away from things I’m working on, look at them from different angles, and often come up with creative solutions or approaches.
After that conversation with my boss, I did go for a walk and enjoyed it so much that I ended up taking a walk every day at lunch hour. Our office was in a great area, and I would love exploring the tree-lined streets nearby. Eventually, I found a tiny little park tucked away in the community with a pond, a beautiful garden with flowers, and a walking trail.
It became my little personal oasis.
After my daily walk, I would come back to the office peppy and pumped as ever to enjoy the rest of the work day. I even started high-fiving colleagues at the law firm, and certainly raised some eye brows. People became curious and asked me what I was doing to be so energized, and soon we started having conversations about how they too were struggling with balance, stress management, and tension in their body and minds.
I ended up starting a workplace wellness club at my office; a group of us that would regularly go for a lunch time walk and have meetings to talk about areas of wellness in our lives, all while having lots of fun in the process.
It took seeing my life and health going out of balance to realize how important these things were for me. I firmly believe that experiencing the outdoors is incredibly important for our well being, especially in a day an age where we can spend so much time indoors.
I encourage you to enjoy nature. It isn’t as hard as you think.
Here are things I ask myself to reconnect with nature around me:
- What are some of my favourite memories in nature?
- How do those memories make me feel?
- What experiences could I have in the nature around me that I would really enjoy?
- How can I incorporate nature into my schedule or routine?
- Go for it!
As a final option, since I love 30 day challenges as a way to create a new habit, I also recommend the new 30 Day Challenge with the David Suzuki Foundation. The deadline to sign up is June 1, 2012, and all you have to do is to spend 30 minutes every day in nature for 30 days. There are lots of ways to spend time in nature, it’s a fun way to meet new people, and there are great prizes for participants.
In a world of so much busyness, social media, and noise, I have found incredible value in taking some time on a regular basis to spend in nature, create space and time for myself, and take in the beauty of the world around me.
Sometimes all it takes is a breath of fresh air to connect with reality.
Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.