Supporting Your Nervous System Through Time in Nature

Supporting Your Nervous System Through Time in Nature - Wildelore

Nature is for everyone. And though our proximity to it, and the exact way that we interact with nature will be unique to each of us, spending time in and among “it” is universally beneficial.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or not, the value of spending time outside is truly priceless.

When the idea for Wildelore originally came to be, I had envisioned being an outdoor brand in the traditional sense. And though we are in fact that, it isn’t necessarily about being hardcore. 

Yes, skilled outdoor women need access to high quality maternity and nursing outdoor clothes, but it also goes beyond that. It goes deeper. 

Not all of us are going to be cross country skiing with our toddlers in tow or going on multi-day alpine backpacking trips, and that’s absolutely fine. Not everyone has the means to do so, the experience, or frankly even, the desire.

The most important thing - the most fundamental to our existence as humans, and as women - is that we spend time outside, close to nature. 

When we step away from our devices, put the to-do list on hold, leave the headphones in our pockets, put our phones on silent, and are occupied by simply being present outside, we provide ourselves and our bodies with the opportunity to let go of the stress of our everyday lives and the demands that never seem to go away.

We allow our body, mind and spirit to regulate and allow space for silence.

Some people go to great lengths to avoid silence. Whether it’s a conscious habit or not. Through endless podcasts or constant music (in the background included) we subject ourselves to never ending stimulation. 

What happens if we just stay present? If just sit or stand there? Or walk in silence? What would happen? If we really allow space and quiet to hear our own thoughts, what would happen?

In today’s world, silence is something we rarely get, unless we intentionally carve out space in our busy lives for it.

We all have a million things to do, and though we’re likely not running from any lions, our nervous systems are on high alert. Instead of a lion it’s constant notifications, babies crying, hungry bellies, work deadlines, general pressure, social media, stressful tv shows and movies (the suspense is real!) and so on and so forth. We are needed here and there and we have to do this, and that and on and on it goes.

Nature (when we are really being present without distraction) is naturally regulating because when we truly allow ourselves to drop in, it pulls us out of our usual busy-ness and the constant state of going and doing, into a slower, more “natural” rhythm.

Instead of the ding of a notification, maybe you’ll hear a bird song, or a squirrel chirping at your presence, or the wind in the trees. You’ll hear your little one cooing, or the sound of their little feet walking on the leaves.

Maybe you notice the way the sun pierces through the canopy of trees warming a small circumference of the forest floor. 

What’s that? Oh yeah, you can even hear your own heart beat. 

And even though oftentimes it’s not perfectly silent - maybe you can hear the roar of cars on the highway or other people enjoying nature with their dogs - even among these real-life sounds is an opportunity to surrender to what is, and to be deeply present. 

Oftentimes my mind is racing as I set forth into the forest, but after a few moments realizing my own breath and the breath of the other living things around me, I begin to feel a slowing down. 

My cells remember this truth. That this pace - the cyclical rhythm of nature - is also my own nature. That this landscape of the seasons is also within me. 

My nervous system can relax into the wisdom that I am no different, and that my desire to spend time in these spaces (interesting that space = pace with an s) isn’t out of laziness, but because this is what feels most nourishing to my body at both a surface level and at a deep cellular level.

We all know that our nervous systems suffer at the demands of modern life - constantly connected, always online, and non-stop notified. 

We must tend to parts of ourselves that remember a different way of being.

Or, even to know that “being” is worthy of our time and energy, and that not every moment of our lives need to be productive in the sense of doing things that are measurable. 

The physiological demands of pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood are very real, and our nervous systems can become quite dysregulated due to the additional burden on our bodies (a worthwhile burden of course, but taxing nonetheless). 

Add to this equation sleep loss, the pressure to go back to work too quickly or to be an equal contributor financially, single-parenting, pregnancy loss, needing rest and not being able to, the passage from maiden to mother and the not-knowing or feeling unsure that can accompany the journey, the guilt of placing your child in childcare, the constant scrolling of Instagram  - insert other stressors here - and it makes sense that many of us have a little unending anxiety and nervous systems that are on edge more often than not. 

When I feel a little stir crazy, overwhelmed or overstimulated I know I need to step outside. If I can’t get to the forest, a simple walk around the neighbourhood does wonders. 

There is medicine in the act of opening up the door to the outside world and in having a little more space to pay closer attention to our inner world. 

Maybe you can’t get outside as much as you’d like to, and maybe long hikes just aren’t feasible right now - that’s okay. Get outside where, how and when you can and notice the difference in how you feel. And know that on the days where you feel the most resistance to the idea, this is probably the day you need it the most. 

Make time for mother nature, and she will nourish you in all the ways. 

- Carissa

–Leave a comment below if you resonate with this. I would love to hear from you!

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