Day 3 | IWS22 Recap: Nature & Joyful Tidying

by | Mar 16, 2022 | Blog, IWS22, Stress Relief, Wellness Summit

All IWS22 InDependent Daily Recaps are created via partnership with the staff and writers for It’s A Military Life. It’s a Military Life is a milso and vet networking community, dedicated to serving military families and those who serve our country past and present. Founder, Christina Etchberger, is an Army spouse on a mission to give a voice and opportunities to members of the military community by sharing their stories and providing resources.

The third day of the InDependent Wellness Summit was all about learning to flourish within our environment through nature and joyful tidying.

Day 3 started with an interview with Florence Williams, podcaster and author. 

Everyone’s been there–you’re standing in the middle of a very large city and there’s so many people, so many conversations, so many sounds, so many accidental bumps into you, so much…everything. 

You’re driving on the highway to a brand-new place and the exits are right next to each other, there’s a million bypasses, you really need to get over to the next lane, and the GPS won’t stop telling you how many times it’s had to reroute you.

You’ve moved to a new place with new cultures, a new landscape, a different way of doing things, and you just want to be away from it all. You just want to be home. All of this “new” is so stressful. If you’re anything like me, I felt the stress and sense of feeling overwhelmed creeping up just reading those scenarios!

“Our external landscape is reflected in our internal and emotional landscape,” says Florence Williams. Your senses pick up what’s externally around you and that affects what’s going on internally through your moods, your emotions, your agitation, your level of stress, depression, anxiety, and so much more. This is where nature steps in. Your systems naturally feel comfortable and soothed reading nature’s landscape. The sounds of water trickling and the rain, the feel of sand between your toes as the warm sun hits your skin on a beautiful day, the feel of cool water in a calm ocean or stream and how it just tends to melt away worries are all ways nature plays a role in your means to heal and restore your bodies. 

Florence Williams describes it well when she said, “When we allow our senses to wake up and when we can get in a state of mind where we’re in the moment and focused on hearing the birdsong and focused on what the ground feels like and what the breeze feels like, the activity in our brain is actually shifting. So, there’s less activation in the thinking brain and there’s more activation in the sensory brain.”

The thing is, you don’t have to live at the base of a mountain to find nature and really appreciate what it has to offer to your overall well-being. The next time you go on a walk, despite where in the world you are, detach from all electronics and stressors in your life and try to focus on the nature around you. Ask yourself questions like, “What birds am I hearing today?” “Are there patterns in the trees, leaves, ripples of the creek?” “What is the sunset like tonight? Where is the moon?” “What colors are out tonight?” Invoke your power of awe! It’s beneficial to help put you in perspective and consider that maybe your worries of the day aren’t as large as you perceive. You might tend to get so wrapped up in your everyday life that you miss the things that used to bring you that sense of awe–culture, connection, and nature. That simple power of awe makes you less focused on your personal ambitions and more focused on your overall well-being by helping you feel more connected to community and the world as a whole, which in turn, makes you more kind, compassionate, and considerate. 

When you make the effort to connect with nature, you’re also making the effort to heal, restore, and care for your mental and emotional well-being. You’re actively making the effort to choose health over habits and utilize the natural senses around you to better yourself. I challenge you to take a few minutes each day to break away from your everyday stressors and focus on nature–breathe it in, feel it, soak it in, and flourish —Lexie Coppinger, IML

The second interview of Day 3 was with Katherine Picott of Tidy Milso.

Katherine starts off the conversation by explaining how Tidy Milso came about. She officially launched her business in June of 2020, but Tidy Milso had been in the making long before that. When her husband was away at basic training, in February of 2017, Katherine kept busy by completely organizing and decluttering their home.

It has become difficult to organize, and declutter, after our most recent PCS in October 2021. There is one main room in the house that we have the most difficulty keeping decluttered. When it was just my husband and me, our bedroom accumulated most of the clutter. Now, as a family of four, our living room easily becomes cluttered. My daughter’s toys, my little brother-in-law’s items and our items all easily end up spread throughout the living room. It is also where we spend the most time together. “Tidy space, tidy mind,” is what Katherine mentioned in this interview. I find that I can think and brainstorm easier in rooms that are clean. If they are cluttered and messy, my mind quickly goes to wanting to solve the problem and clean up the mess instead of focusing on the task at hand.

“The method is to never throw away as many things as possible,” Katherine mentioned in the interview. When I think of decluttering, I immediately envision myself with piles of items ready to be thrown out or donated. Before listening to this interview, this was the only way I thought I was going to be successful. Everything needed to go, and it was time to just start fresh.

Katherine talks about how this entire process is a behavioral shift. This was one of my favorite parts of the interview. In order to see success, you must ask yourself questions and recognize if this item truly belongs in your home. It is important to ask these questions when you are decluttering, but it is even more important to ask yourself these questions when you may want to bring a new item into your home. Not every item in your home needs to spark joy, it is important to recognize that some items are purely functional.

This is meant to be a process and sometimes it is going to be difficult. You will be realizing how you evolved and creating new boundaries. I am eager and excited to implement these teachings into my own home and life. The growth that will occur throughout the process will be worth it in the end. Becca Zettwoch, IML Treasurer

In case you missed them, check out Day 1 and Day 2. Interested in attending next year’s event? Sign up for our newsletter and be one of the first to know!

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