We have all heard the phrase ‘self care’. It can mean something different to each of us. Some people meditate. Some go for a run. Some people turn off all electronics. Me, I escape to nature.
Every year, really ever since I became a parent, but especially in the last several years, this week has been a notoriously bad week for me. If you have followed me for a while, you will know why. If you don’t, I won’t go into it here but you can read this.
I routinely battle depression and have for as long as I can remember. This week of the year has been known to send me in to a real tail spin. But I have learned one of the mechanisms I can use to combat the depression is to get out into nature. It is the best place I can go to escape my own thoughts and feelings. It is a place I can focus on something other than issues I’m dealing with.
For nearly twenty years now, I have caught, photographed and released wild reptiles and amphibians.
The hobby really became an escape as my marriage was falling apart about ten years ago. These days I look forward to any chance I get to get out to the local creek. I look forward to the creatures I find and can interact with.
You may think I am crazy but for me, self care means getting out of my own head. You can not be focused on anything else when dealing with wild animals. For the first thing, you need to be one with your environment to even find them sometimes.
Then, when you are actually handling them, you absolutely need to focus on them. They deserve your undivided attention.
Of course, when handling snakes (non-venomous snakes that is), getting bit is just part of the life. I know if something a hundred times bigger than me tried to catch me, I would probably bite too. I don’t blame the snake at all. It is just trying to defend it’s self against an unknown foe.
It’s when these initially aggressive animals begin to relax and realize I’m not there to hurt it, you can feel their muscles relax in your hands. You can see their attitude change.
I’ll take a few bites, I’ll shed a few drops of blood, when I can experience even a momentary trust of a wild animal.
For me, that is self care.
If you want to see the area where I escape – take a look at a little video I produced.
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