Happy National Wildlife Day!
I’m back in DC after spending the past month with my family in Vermont and Connecticut. While I do enjoy having my own space and love this city, I didn’t realize how much I needed a change of scenery. It was that time out of the city that really refreshed my mindset and brightened my mood and perspective. I can confidently say that I’ve returned to DC feeling more peaceful and less stressed than when I left.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an independent introvert who definitely preferred to spend the majority of my quarantine alone. However, I didn’t realize how much being constricted to a small apartment in the city was effecting my mental health. I started experiencing burnout between having a busy work schedule, working in the same place as I live, sleep, and relax in, and not having my usual outlets of hanging out with friends or doing fun creative photo shoots or visiting museums. I started to feel very stressed and anxious, as well as a bit trapped. I started to second guess myself and feel like my work wasn’t up to par, even though I was taking on more than usual and working longer hours. But I couldn’t get perspective on my mental process because I was stuck in the same place, fairly isolated, with no real escape or change.
When I finally had time away from the city and outside of my apartment, I realized how much quarantine was actually getting to me, as I’m sure it is getting to each of you, too. I recognize that I’m someone that truly needs separation between my work and my life. Even in college I never did homework or projects in my dorm room, but preferred classrooms or common areas. Being in a different location helps me focus and allows me to turn work “off” when I get home and can fully relax. In quarantine, I didn’t have that ability and it really took it’s toll on me. I felt like I was never really “off” even if it was 10pm on a Saturday. I knew I was stressed, but honestly didn’t realize just how stressed I was.
I’ve always loved being outside and in nature – I’m not a camper or dedicated hiker, but I appreciate times spent in the wilderness. It always calms my mind and gives my perspective a breath of fresh air (pun intended). Being outside surrounded by trees, lakes, or the ocean without a soul in sight makes me feel so at peace. I’m always in awe of nature’s beauty, and sometimes need to be reminded of how big the world truly is.
As we head into the long weekend, I hope you’re all able to spend some time at peace in nature, even for a short while.