It was the same process as usual today. By the time my work day was over I was in a terrible mood. I didn’t want to go to the gym, and I definitely didn’t want to force time to go do something new. I had a long to-do list and “Something New” just felt like another thing I had to check off my list. As I was driving there, I had to remind myself this was not an action on my list, this was the break FROM my list. I had picked another forest preserve to visit, aware that this was basically the theme of my now fourth activity in a row.
I got to Warrenville Grove Forest Preserve after work and the gym. I had first seen this Forest Preserve in 2011, when I used to drive by it daily on my way to where I lived back then. But I had never made the time to visit it. It always looked pretty small, and that’s why I chose it today. Because I anticipated spending maybe 20 minutes walking around and then going home and hiding in my room all evening, alone with my bad mood.
I was not expecting much from Warrenville Grove, it always looked pretty small when I passed it while driving. But I was in for a pretty great surprise with this place. There were tons of little trails winding through the woods. There was a river that cut through the middle of the preserve, and many of the different trails led to great spots along the banks of the river. Places where I could sit and relax, and let my thoughts race away with the flow of the river. I had originally planned to stay 20 minutes, but I had so much fun wandering around, exploring the trails, and letting all the day’s frustration and depression be cleared out by
the fresh air. It made me feel that there was more to my day than my meaningless workday, and instead of my planned 20 minutes I ended up spending almost 3 hours there as I explored the winding trails and paths.
I thought about how the best part of this Days Of New experiment has been how much time I’ve been spending outside. I thought about how much I was enjoying all this extra time in nature, and could hopefully continue it all summer long. I considered that maybe I need to go to a forest preserve every dayafter work for my mental health. Spending some time in the trees seems to work as a powerful antidepressent for me. By the time I finally left, my depression for the day was gone and I felt emotionally reset. I could focus and was way more clear headed, and was able to finish the rest of the stuff on my “To Do” list with ease. Awesome.