Nature Has Benefits That Help Me to Manage My Chronic Illness

Nature Has Benefits That Help Me to Manage My Chronic Illness

The other day, I took a 20-minute drive to a local lake. During the summer season, the location is crowded and busy, but after Labor Day, it’s quiet and tranquil. Now that fall has arrived, the scenery is beautiful as the leaves change their colors.

I sat on a bench by the lake while enjoying the peaceful setting. Then I took a short walk near the water’s edge. I was uplifted by the calming sounds around me and ready to face the rest of my day having gained a new perspective.

Finding serenity by the lake. (Photo by Kate Spencer)

Research has long suggested a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. I read an interesting article recently about a pilot project in Scotland that involves primary care doctors handing out “nature prescriptions” to their patients.

I didn’t appreciate nature when I was younger. I wasn’t disrespectful or abusive toward wildlife. But aside from spending time on the beach as a teenager, the outdoors didn’t hold much interest for me.

Since my sarcoidosis diagnosis, I have gained a new appreciation of the outdoors and nature. I’m drawn to quiet environments, and being in nature satisfies my need for serenity.

The beach is still a favorite destination of mine. But now I prefer to go there during the off-season. I find it more relaxing once the crowds have gone home. And when the summer’s over, the seaside is more bearable without the heat-related challenges of sarcoidosis.

Walking in the woods, along a canal, or near any form of water is therapeutic. On days when I don’t feel up to walking, a drive in a setting outside the city brings benefits. On other days, my garden and its visiting butterflies offer me solace.

However, while I love spending time in nature, I face limitations imposed by the weather. Rain, snow, ice, and cold temperatures are real challenges here in the Northeast.

For a while now, I have used a white noise machine at bedtime. The device has a choice of sounds: ocean, rainforest, or rainfall. I believe that it helps to drown out noises from inside the house and around the neighborhood while I sleep.

But I’ve recently discovered the noise machine is also useful during the day when I’m unable to get outdoors. Although it can’t replace the physical experience of being outside, the calming sounds are an adequate substitute for the real thing.

If you haven’t found your nature fix yet, you should try it. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

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Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

I am a freelance writer who volunteers with several animal rescue organizations. I enjoy reading, working in the garden, and gluten-free baking.
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I am a freelance writer who volunteers with several animal rescue organizations. I enjoy reading, working in the garden, and gluten-free baking.

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