So, I’m led in bed with my “monkey mind” in full “monkey at a rave mode.”
It’s 1am and everyone else in the house has been asleep for ages. I’ve tried almost everything to get to sleep. I went to bed with a book and a cup of camomile tea, I’d written down everything I needed to do the next day, so my ‘to do list’ was not bouncing around my bonce. At some point I realised that I was failing at the sleeping game so I decided to some deep, focused breathing but my monkey mind would not settle. This has been a life-long battle for me… Brought up in a world where it was advisable to be on constant high alert. As an adult it is taking some time to retrain my body that this is no longer the case.
I start to feel a bit frustrated and panicky; I know that I’m not going to win any prizes for mum of the year tomorrow if I don’t get this sorted. Okay, time to get out the big guns. I quietly slide out of bed and put on my big thick dressing gown, I tip-toe downstairs and on my way to the back door, grab my favourite blanket. It’s red and black tartan with a soft underside, I cocoon myself in it, in preparation. My Labrador looks like she would roll her eyes if she could, but faithfully gets up and follows me out into the back garden.
The magic of nature
A few steps over the patio and we’re onto the grass. Once my feet are there, my shoulders drop, the tension releases as I sigh, I can feel myself becoming grounded. Wrapped in my blanket, connected to the earth, dog by my side…my monkey is calming.
A few deep breaths, taking in the crisp night air I notice that the moon is full tonight – I should’ve known. It looks beautiful though against the black sky, and twinkling stars. I can smell that smell; you know the one…Summer’s on the way. The air smells fresh, clean and hints at new beginnings. I can hear the sounds of night, the breeze wending its way through the trees and my dog patiently breathing next to me. I take another deep long breath and can sense my monkey thinking about settling down for the night. My feet are starting to feel the cold, I take in another deep, long breath and make my way in, I say goodnight to the dog and notice that there is no sign of the monkey, all is peaceful in my mind as I slip into bed.
Nature has worked its magic on me once again.
It’s one of the reasons I volunteer at The Gap Project. People come to our allotments to soak up some of natures medicine, whether it’s talking, digging, planting, or just being in an environment that’s calm and fosters a feeling of being centred with like-minded folk. I get as much out of it as the participants who attend!
Our guest blogger:
Huge thanks to our Volunteer Vicky for her blog.
Nature and Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Week this year falls between 10-16th May. It’s theme is nature – and we’ve asked our staff and volunteers to write about the effect that being outside in nature has on them.
Vicky helps our team out at The GAP Project Allotments in Dorchester. The GAP Project provides practical support by our trained staff and volunteers to those with mental health problems. Our aim is to improve the quality of life experienced by our participants. They do this working outside on the land, as part of a team. Sessions are available on Mondays and Thursdays – you’ll need to email us beforehand to arrange access.
Email Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org