According to an AARP article published last month, many family caregivers have been turning to nature and outdoor activities for comfort and stress relief during the pandemic. Doing so can decrease worry and depression. The article cites Nexus Fellow Dr. Bill Thomas who, back in the early 90s, recommended keeping parakeets inside senior living communities to lift spirits.
The article points out that when going to baseball games, weddings, or even the grocery store seems too risky, simply getting outside can do wonders. The regular rhythms of nature can be reassuring in a time when so many other things seem uncertain. Here are a few guidelines to make the most out of your natural retreat time:
- Put down your phone and walk away from your computer. They have their place, especially when we can use them to connect with others virtually via Facebook or Zoom. But they are no substitute for the rejuvenation of being outdoors.
- Pay close attention to the natural world. The way the plants grow, the changing color of the leaves. Even local wildlife like birds and squirrels can be utterly fascinating–if you take the time to look closely.
- Go with others! Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t take a walk with a friend. Experiencing nature together can really enhance the experience.
- Recognize that you are a part of it all. From the stars in the sky to the cardinal at your birdfeeder, we’re all in one big cycle of life, giving meaning to everything we do–including and especially our caregiving work.
Read more about Nexus Fellow Dr. Bill Thomas here