Covid Perspectives: Boost Yourself with Nature

Photo by Emma Carter

In our Covid Perspectives series, people share experiences and thoughts in their own words. These are the opinions of the individuals themselves, not of Covid Aid. By sharing these, we aim to reflect the need for visibility and to raise the voices of the millions around the UK who continue to be severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Emma, would like to share her story of recovery from sensory loss due to Covid, in the hope that it might help others. With her permission we are republishing it here.

Learning to Change

Life teaches us to adapt. A refugee settling into a new country, a woman becoming a mother, a child transitioning to High School - all have to learn to change and develop new routines. A virus hitting you out of the blue also forces change. The effects at the time can be hard hitting and create a feeling of powerlessness. And when they continue, they can be truly debilitating. Covid left many - once healthy and active - unable to get out of bed, struggling to walk more than a few steps, lost and confused. Not 'themselves'.

Feeding the Senses

When I lost my senses of taste and smell, a close friend said to me: 'feed your other senses'. It was, and continues to be, excellent advice.

Life is rich in sights, sounds and physical sensations wherever we live, whatever our lifestyle. Often my go-to in difficult times is the natural world. Rich in sensory experiences of all kinds. I encourage anyone going through hard times to immerse themselves, at some point in their week, in nature. We can all make the most of what we have around us – whether it's a patch of woodland, a peaceful waterway or a small park in the centre of a city.

Photo by Emma Carter

Sensational Sights

I made a choice nine years ago to move to the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. This wonderful part of England has come into its own during the pandemic. Both for its physical beauty and the kind-hearted people. Stunning vistas at every turn, the South Pennines run from the northern boundary of the Peak District to the southern boundary of the Yorkshire Dales. High, rolling moorland - covered in purple heather in late summer - intersected by lush, wooded valleys. Gushing, tumbling rivers, vast reservoirs and pretty canals. Where Lancashire meets Yorkshire; dotted with old mill towns of stone cottages and iconic back-to-back brick terraces.

Finding New Ways to Enjoy Our Surroundings

Being hit by Covid meant I couldn't go on my regular stomps up the hills and across moorland nor cycle along towpaths . But I could find a spot to sit and take in the views or go for a drive – battling with the fact I'm in my forties as opposed to my seventies. It was worth it just to be able to see and hear the world out there - wind in my hair, occasional sun on my face.

Slowing down has many benefits. Noticing more is one of them. Endearing place names made me smile – Slack Bottom, Top O'T'Hill, Nabby Nook. I had time to amble around my local market, full of friendly traders with interesting trinkets and random stuff for sale. The canal is a joy to watch; gentle life on houseboats, dawdling ducks, squabbling geese.

Photo by Emma Carter

Nature's Benefits

A year after Covid got me, I was so fatigued and worn out by work and life in general that I was signed off work for a few weeks. This turned into four months which felt very difficult to accept. But it was needed - it gave me the time to slow down and recuperate. As it was Autumn, the timing was positive. I could immerse myself in the gorgeous colours and watch the seasons change, often from my favourite bench on the canal towpath overlooking the hills. Looking back now, I reflect how far I've come. Nature is healing and having time to observe it is a gift.

Being able to write about my experiences for Covid Aid is therapeutic and being part of their community has made me feel more positive and supported. I hope sharing my stories can help some of you out there going through similar experiences.

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