Stress is everywhere, from self-imposed worries to external stressors outside of our control. The challenge is how we can manage it, how we can prevent it from taking over our minds.
This is something I’ve been thinking about ever since our truly magical vacation to Paris, Rome and Venice last September. Even on the most wonderful of travel experiences, a dream come true, there were some moments while walking through winding, surreal Medieval and Renaissance streets in Venice or by the River Seine in Paris, where worries about work, my career and my goals would seep in. I’d always try to push them out, but they’d come back, fighting for attention.
This is normal, of course, when you’re at a crossroads or working to build a career. It’s normal to think about all the things you hope you can accomplish when you are in inspiring settings. Especially in creative fields, there is no off switch. Whether you’re at your desk or walking through the Coliseum, your ideas are going to accompany you wherever you are.
Except– when surrounded by overwhelming nature that fills all your senses.
This was a revelation during the past long weekend. We were visiting good friends in their new home on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. (Since this blog is so inspired by Minjay, I’ll note that these are our friends because of them. They used to be our neighbors, and I really don’t how our friendship would have grown had it not been for the trigger: Minjay and their beautiful Golden Retriever bringing us together. They became best friends. In fact, Minjay still runs to their old apartment door in our building from time to time looking for his friend.)
Bainbridge Island is five miles (8 km) wide and ten miles (16 km) long. It’s in the Puget Sound, just a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle.
We arrived there late at night on Friday, after a very busy workday and workweek (work month really). When I woke up on Saturday, my fabulous host made me a warm mug of Nespresso decaf coffee and led me out to their picturesque porch.
There, the big trees filled my eyes, ears and… magically: my mind. It all went quiet, in a wonderful way.
I wanted to try the experiment the very next morning. I was the first to wake up, eager to have time to sit on the porch before the day began. I helped myself to the delicious decaf Nespresso in my friend’s beautiful blue handmade mugs (the small details do matter!) and took a warm blanket outside. Once again, the trees worked their magic.
Later that afternoon, we also went on a walk with their Golden Retriever through Grand Forest near their home, and I was again struck by how nature, such deep green, can get you out of yourself like nothing else. It’s anchoring in a powerful way, calming yet energizing.
So, if you need a break from anything, external or internal, all you need to do is head to the forest, find big trees, immerse yourself deeply in nature.