Skip to main content

Nature: A Balm for Anxiety

A pattern resurfacing in my life is the healing effects of nature on my frazzled nerves. As a brand new mom over 11 years ago spending the late spring and all summer on maternity leave, I strapped my baby girl into that stroller and we went walking multiple times a day. When the walls felt like they were closing in, I took her outside. It helped me breathe and gain perspective; I saw that the world was so much bigger than my worries.

In the spring of 2020 when the world seemed to be falling to pieces around me, and the anxieties of the pandemic, my kids, and my job just felt like too much, I went outside. By myself on the back porch, just to get some air. Standing out in the driveway, eyes closed, soaking in the sunshine and feeling the breeze, momentary escapes between Zooms. All summer I sat on a plastic folding chair while the kids splashed and laughed (and argued) in a janky front-yard pool nearby. More reminders and opportunities to breathe and try to find a new outlook.

Yesterday, my mom and I took my kids to our local botanic gardens for the first time since the pandemic hit our part of the world. It was glorious. We walked, looked at flowers, read placards staked into the ground to learn the names of trees. We fed the fish and watched the ducks play and splash. Per the oldest child’s insistence, we visited the gift shop. Each babe got a trinket to bring home. (Pre-teen daughter chose a Japanese rice bowl set. Toddler boy chose a plastic koi fish for the bathtub. It lights up in water - a fun tub-time surprise neither of us expected. All house members visited bathtime last night to see “Freddie’s” luminescence.)

At the gardens as we walked and explored and talked and breathed, I was reminded again of the healing powers of the outdoors. Like a balm for my anxieties, nature soothes my worries of our fractured world.


  1. What beautiful pictures. I love when nature can surround and calm us. Sounds like you had a great visit.

  2. I will forever think of nature and sunshine as balm for my anxious soul thanks to your writing. The photos of the botanic gardens were simply beautiful. So glad you got to share this day with your mom and children.

  3. Great details in this piece! I love the adjective "janky" to describe the pool, and the image of "Freddie's luminescence" lit up this slice for me, too.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Chicken Incident and Working Towards Forgiveness

Over a period of several pre-teen years, my parents separated, got back together, separated, and ultimately divorced. It was confusing for me. I never saw my parents argue, and in my 9-12 year old brain, I thought that was a prerequisite for divorce. They weren’t together in my presence often, so I didn’t see them really interact together very much at all. My house was generally calm. There was no yelling. It was usually just me and my mom. When my father was home, he was often drunk or on his way there. His brand of drunkard was quiet, weepy, contemplative.  Fast forward a few years and past a multitude of violent, traumatic experiences, I found myself smack dab in the middle of another volatile exchange between my father and his second wife. Also an alcoholic but the rageful, abusive kind. All of 5 foot 1 and barely a hundred pounds, she terrified me. This particular fight was not that remarkable from the start. I was in my bedroom in their house, upstairs, hiding in my closet. (I al

Que Será, Será

Every night, I sing the song “Que Será, Será” to my son as part of his bedtime routine. Do you know that song? Doris Day sang it in one of her movies, and it is rooted in my childhood memories and, now, is deeply rooted in my son’s childhood and in my memories of his early life. I remember my mother singing it to me when I was a “wee lass” (as I say to my pre-teen daughter which is promptly met with eye roll and smirk). The specifics around my mother singing it to me are hazy, like looking through layer upon layer of veils and gauzy drapes. Fuzzily, I see her in the kitchen, joyfully belting out, “Que será, será! Whatever will be, will be,” wearing a faded, threadbare apron, gliding between the dishwasher and the cabinets, very Mary Poppins-esque. My son had some health challenges in his infanthood that left me raw and consumed by anxiety. I remember trying to rock him to sleep many, many rockings ago, and thinking to myself, “Calm down. You have to calm your energy so he can calm down

Still in the Pleats

I went to New York City a few summers ago for work. My time there transformed me into a different person. My life has been impacted, both professionally and personally, every day since I returned home to Texas. It remains a sacred experience. While there, Lucy Calkins told us a story about a woman. The woman said she was “too busy living the life of a wife and mother to unfold. It’s all still in the pleats.”  It’s ALL. Still. In. The pleats. This IS me. I AM that woman. Life is passing me by. I am surviving it, but I am not living it. My stories are still in the pleats. This is me unfolding.