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The Beauty in Nature

I started writing a post last week about relaxation, and my struggle to find it lately. That was back when I was only struggling because my body had been on a constant high of work since January. Once I decided to dedicate a single day to doing nothing, I found myself totally stressed out. I had forgotten how to relax. I was so used to doing something all the time, that I could not just sit back and do nothing. What I thought would take a day, took a week – it took me actively reprogramming my mind to find peace in doing nothing…and that only came after I had done at least one thing on my to-do list that day. It wasn’t until I went to a relaxing yoga class at my local yoga studio that I actually felt my entire being fully relax. I went home and for the first time in months, felt no guilt about just sitting and reading my book for hours (I’m not sure if reading counts as doing nothing, but it was peaceful).

All this was before the current situation felt so close to home. Now it almost feels like all my work to keep myself relaxed has been thrown out the window – the constant bombardment of distressing news is increasingly damaging to our mental health. Whilst I’m not panicking in the same way as many people (to each their own, but do we really need to carry around a 500ml bottle of pure alcohol with us? I saw a lady practically drenching herself and child after using the ATM and it's all a bit too much for me), the world wide stress is taking its toll on my mental state. I think this is the case for a lot of us. To simply not look at news or social media is not a helpful suggestion; you want to keep informed (especially in countries like the UK where even the government doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing about the situation from one day to the next), and you also want a reprieve from the world through the gaze of social media.

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At times of high stress, I know that the one thing that really calms me down is nature. Nature carries on regardless. Your pet is unbothered about the news, the flowers and trees do not care if you are on lockdown, the birds sing regardless of how many people are reported ill. I personally find this extremely comforting; to know that there are things out there unaffected by our current crisis. And so, since we are not (yet) on lockdown here in the UK, and since Rory and I live near nature, we decided to go for a walk yesterday. We drove ourselves to the area and kept our distance from anyone else who was also out - thankfully not many people. I think that was the most relaxed I felt for the last few days. The swans, geese, ducks etc have never heard of COVID-19, they do not care. They care about the same things they cared about last week, last month and last year – and that brings me peace. The world ticks on.

I took photos yesterday on my Mamiya, but obviously I will not be making the trip to get them developed for at least a couple of weeks. The photos in this post were taken in Dover in 2017, they are photos I frequently look at. Perhaps because they feel timeless. They could have been taken yesterday, or tomorrow. Right now seeing the beauty and continuity in nature is what is keeping me sane. I hope you can find something to keep you at peace in these turbulent times. I will be compiling a list of non-computer/social media related things to keep you occupied in my next post. For now, I hope everyone is safe and well – we will get through this.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 2020