Would you like to feel more at peace?

Joshua McClatchy
Graduate Student, former CCS social work intern,
avid hiker, and – survivor

Would you like to feel more at peace?

Although I have not experienced a cancer diagnosis, I do know what it’s like to have a condition that can be challenging to manage: bipolar disorder. Bipolar 1 to be exact. When our health is at risk, the situation can seem overwhelming and day to day, it can be difficult to find a sense of peace, even when you’re supported by caregivers and a broad support system.

Speaking of caregivers, this post is for them to read, too, as well as patients.

The important thing to keep in mind is to find what works for you. You may hear lots of well-meaning recommendations, but they won’t all sound good for you. The best suggestions for finding peace in your day may be the simplest – like taking time to sit and enjoy the sunshine. There is no need to overdue.

If you have access to a patio – at home or even at a restaurant – spending time there daily can be truly beneficial. I try for a 2 hour outing at least once a week and the health benefits I know I receive from hikes in the park include mental clarity, better endurance, and better sleep, along with improved heart health.

And when you make it a habit to spend time outside, in nature and green space, the health benefits really start to add up. These include reduced chance of cardiovascular disease, increased sleep duration, and better control of type 2 diabetes.

Mentally, connecting with nature can renew your spirit, improve your focus, and give you a more peaceful perspective.

Some of you may be wondering how you can do this if you’re experiencing complications of treatment or if money is tight. That is okay. Cancer fighters don’t have to take a two-week trip to Alaska to connect with nature. Tarrant Country has numerous parks that provide walking trails that are free. One that I highly recommend is River Legacy Park, a nature preserve situated in north Arlington.  This lovely park has paved trails and decent shade. Invite a friend to share the experience. Take in the sounds of birds chirping here and there and listen to the gentle flow of the Trinity River. If you look closely, you may even see a Great Horned Owl! You can find River Legacy Park close to the intersection of I-30 and Cooper Street.

If walking in a park isn’t your thing, how about a scenic drive? The possibilities are numerous in the areas just outside of Ft. Worth. One that I encourage you to take is off of HWY 180 in Parker County. HWY 180 can be found intersecting with Interstate 20 in Weatherford. Not only will this drive take you through the charming downtown area, it meanders through fields that lead to the imaginative and sprawling botanical gardens known as Clark Gardens. While Clark Gardens isn’t free, it can be affordable. Entrance fees are $9 for adults and $5 for children. More information can be found here: https://www.clarkgardens.org.

If you don’t want to make it to the gardens, no problem. This drive is a superb spot for a variety of wildflowers also, and wildflower season is right around the corner!”