The Journey Past the Mailbox (AKA Happy Earth Day 2020)

The world is different. Maybe your feelings are a grab bag of spiraling anxiety, anger, fear, relief, loneliness, and grief, and your usual coping skills aren’t available right now.

After a particularly rough shelter-in-place week, a friend recommended I get a walk in (past the mailbox) for a good twenty minutes and take a good, hard look both ways until I see the horizon line on each side. I stomped and grumbled around the neighborhood for a good ten minutes, but after that I just…enjoyed being a passive observer of my neighborhood. Bunnies were out playing. Some cardinals made a home in our front bushes. Pollen ate my car. Birds chirped louder without the traffic. It felt nice to get a respite from bad news, scary alerts, and reports of new cases. It felt nice to not look at a screen. Self-care doesn’t have to be selfish or elaborate. It can be a quiet buffer to your normal day, especially as you try to navigate your new normal.

Peaceful Georgia park

Earth Day began about 50 years ago after a horrible oil spill on the California coast. Schools and universities came out to support and celebrate environmental protection. Then, like now, we worked together to protect what we cared about. Earth day is a good reminder to reconnect with nature.

I asked my co-workers how they are taking care of themselves and connecting with the outdoors during shelter-in-place, and here are some things they shared. I hope they help you.

  • Daily walks (dog walking counts)
  • Gardening (container, indoor, outdoor, vegetable, anything goes)

Share a slice of your day with the outdoors. It might pick up your spirits and help you realize your world is larger than your shelter-in-place-space and rekindle an appreciation for nature. You protect what you value.