Connecting with nature changed my life
When I began going to ecotherapy sessions at my local allotment, I was in a dark and difficult place. I was chronically stressed, highly anxious and so burnt out that in work meetings and social gatherings I would cling on to whatever I could in case I collapsed. My head was awash with worry and my body was ready to fall apart. I was terrified and at war with myself – until ecotherapy, an outdoor therapy involving activities in nature, showed me a better way.
“In my family, stress and exhaustion were synonymous with who we were and how we existed.”
My road to burnout had been lifelong. In my family, stress and exhaustion were synonymous with who we were and how we existed. Part and parcel of how we survived. It took me many years to recognise that my dad dying of a heart attack at only 52 may have been caused in large part by this militant blueprint for life. A blueprint I saw emulated again and again in the wider culture as I left home and started work, by friends who would sleep under their desks to maximise their time in the office or employers who would congratulate me on doing 11-hour days after getting to work when the birds were asleep.