This past weekend I got the chance to take a quick weekend trip to Colorado. Over the course of my whirlwind weekend, I managed to squeeze in time for a brief hike with family. Given that later weekend events involved crowds and noise, things that typically stress my anxiety, my little trip into nature had a big impact, buoying me up some and offsetting my anxiety.
One of my favorite ways to reset is to simply get away from people and get into nature. Where the wild things are is where I find a respite from the worries of an anxious mind. If I see wildlife great, if not the beauty of a natural setting is enough. Often in fact I feel far closer to God when I am in nature than when I am in church. And although there was no wildlife to see on this hike, it was just what I needed.
The important takeaway away from this is to remember that mental illness doesn’t follow any rules in how it attacks you, and when you struggle with mental illness you shouldn’t limit yourself in how you respond to the struggles it presents. Talk therapy and medication may be some of the best known ways to treat mental illness, but they absolutely are not the only ways. Find what works for you. Maybe it is hiking, maybe it is reading, maybe art, or maybe something that is completely unique to you, but whatever it is, make sure that no matter how busy you are you make time for yourself and time for those things that help you the most. It is as important that you do that as it is that I get into nature from time to time. And it is very important that I get into nature.
P.S. Some great views on the hike, but no wildlife. Apparently in warmer months there can be rattlesnakes, but this time of year it’s too cold and the snakes have to hibernate, which is really unfair to the snakes. Coloradans, remember that if you’re cold they’re cold. Bring your rattlesnakes inside.