Arg. Wednesday’s are always horrible. Work seems to drain what little soul and optimism I have left, and by Wednesday afternoon I find I am always in the worst mood, and want nothing more than to just go home and sulk in my room away from the world until the internal emotional storm passes.
The good thing about the Days of New experiment is that it has been pushing me out of that dreadful habit. I find that if I go home to sulk after work, the bad mood just stays all day and those hours of freetime pass me by in moments. It’s like the poison of work just spreads to the rest of my life. But staying active and busy seems to help keep that poison contained in my office building, and despite how lazy I want to be all the time, I am more likely to feel a lot better the rest of the day if I am active.
So I decided not to let work win against my emotions today. I opted to go try a new restaurant, and then spend some time outdoors. Through the course of this experiment I’ve found being surrounded by trees does an amazing job of rapidly resetting my emotions and mental state. It’s a natural antidepressant!
The sub was awesome. I walked in, and only saw two small tables against the wall. I wondered how they could get many customers with only 4 seats, but it didn’t matter. I got a chicken parm sub, and realized that I had barely eaten all day. This was probably contributing to my foul mood, and I rapidly inhaled my meal. As I was finished I looked to realize that there was a whole different seating area in the back, and that explained where they were able to keep customers.
I did indeed start to feel better a bit after eating, and my next stop was a forest preserve near my home to try and reset my emotions. This was not a new forest preserve, but I was excited to realize that the Days of New experiment has created positive changes in my behavior. Now I’m much more likely to go spend free time after work out in nature instead of sitting at home on my computer.
I realized also, that when I spend my freetime at home, the hours blink by in moments. But an hour spent outside seems to be ten times longer than an hour spent inside. I pondered why that is, and I think it has to do with the amount of sensory input that happens outside. Within ten seconds, a whooshing wind will blow through the trees and a thousand different colored leaves will flutter and clap in in the air. A squirrel will run through the grass in front of me, crunching twigs as it does, climb up a tree, and then disappear around the back. Then several birds will tweet and fly in front of me in fast and seemingly erratic flight paths. Meanwhile, ten seconds at home in front of a computer, almost nothing happens. The environment stays the same, there is no change in sensory input, and the computer screen itself is probably taking 10 seconds just to load the next page. It kind of makes sense to me that time moves completely differently outside, and that this summer I need to spend as much time as possible outside.
Another thing I have noticed is the power that trees have on my mood. I found that forest preserves tend to completely reset my emotions after a certain period of time. But I also observed that this only happens when I am surrounded by trees. If I am exploring out in open areas, my emotions tend to stay the same, and my difficulties concentrating remain the same. I’m not sure why exactly this is, but today as I wandered deeper into paths along trees, I found that after about an hour, my mind was much more calm, focused, and centered. I felt better.
I had already done my Day of New experiment for the day, but since I was outside, I decided to try the Geocache app I just got. And I was excited to see there were plenty nearby. One was even about 500 feet away from me. I followed the map and compass as it directed me towards the set coordinates, in an area by the trees. I had no idea what I was looking for, and I suddenly regretted trying this for the first time in an area full of trees, where it could be hidden anywhere. But now I was too far in to give up, and so after a while I suddenly saw it. Attached to a tree was a little pill bottle, and I opened it to find a list of people’s names, people who had found this secret spot before me over the last 2 years.
Now I was hooked. Rather than going home, I spent more time in the woods, finding more geocaches. One of them however, led me completely off the beaten track, and deep into the woods. It was dark in here, and the grasses were up to my knees. I looked for a while, but my compass kept changing directions. I was in the bermuda triangle of the woods, and decided after a while to just go home. This proved to be a good idea, because once I was home, relaxing on my bed, I noticed the tick on my ear. Gross. I went to take a shower in case more were on me, and noticed another one crawling on my jeans. Grosser!!!! I then threw my sheets and clothes in the laundry, hoping not to find more. Last thing I need is a blog entry called “Day 33: Lyme Disease”