The trees in North Carolina are beautiful right now. I don’t even mind running into traffic during my commute to work these days. The trees that line the route are gorgeous draped in their autumn colors.
But seeing nature’s beauty from the vantage of a car reminds me that I’ve spent too much time cooped up at home and at work these past few months. Too much of the light I’ve subjected myself to has been fluorescent. I never took much time this year to surround myself with nature.
I’ve always recognized that communing with nature is a good thing to do. About a year ago, I attended the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association Patient/Family Conference in Missouri. There, a physician who spoke made a compelling argument that we ought to consider communing with nature as an important part of a holistic approach to managing Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).
Because CMT affects one’s body in many different ways, it necessitates treatment on multiple fronts, including the physical, the emotional, the spiritual, the mental, and even the financial. And maintaining a connection to nature shouldn’t be taken trivially, because there are health benefits to spending time outdoors.
Ever since hearing that perspective last year, I’ve felt that I should at least try to make an effort to heed the doctor’s advice.
However, either because of COVID-19 or because 2020 has been a crazy year for me, I had forgotten to make a point to do so.
I decided to make a belated effort earlier this week to go to a local park. Although I’ve been to this park and walked its trails several times this year, this was the first time I went with the goal of connecting with the natural world.
This time, as I wandered along the trails, I tried not to concern myself with time, the number of laps, or getting my heart rate up to a certain level. I strolled without podcasts or music in my ears. Instead, I tried to focus on the leaves rustling in the breeze. I sat on benches, tried to meditate, and read a book while sitting on a picnic table.
It was nice. And I think it was good for the soul.
I had indeed been depriving myself this year. Spending most of my work and free time in front of a computer screen hasn’t been all that good for me. “Doomscrolling“ and media binges have rendered me little better than a child hooked on the zip, zaps, and booms of frenetic children’s TV shows.
I’ve rediscovered that nature is a reprieve from all of this. And this week, I realized I didn’t just want to experience more of what nature has to offer, I needed to.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
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