Generalized anxiety has been a companion of mine for most of my life. Battling anxiety has shaped aspects of my personality and added a layer of difficulty to my everyday life and relationships. I've tried a handful of methods for managing my worry and uneasiness, but the only thing that truly brings me back to my center is nature. Everything begins to come into focus for me when I'm engulfed by the sun's warmth and vivid shades of green. This makes winter a difficult season for me.
Winter brings dark skies, cold days, and eliminates a lot of color from nature. As a person who hates the cold but finds the benefits of spending time in nature essential to my mental health, winter poses a significant challenge for me. That's why I have fallen in love with the on-campus greenhouse at UNC Charlotte.
Rain or shine, winter or spring, the McMillian Greenhouse is warm, colorful, and relaxing. It's exactly the environment I need to regain balance. On days when my anxiety is running high or I simply want a dose of nature, I carve out some time to spend in the greenhouse.
As soon as I walk into the glass-covered gardens, I can feel myself begin to relax. I swear that being surrounded by plants makes it instantly easier to breathe. I take my time as I walk through each garden exhibit, pausing to embrace the peaceful atmosphere and admire the beautiful plants each room has to offer. The experience is different each time I visit, and I always leave the nature conservatory feeling less anxious than I did when I first got there.
So for the 18.1% of you who struggle with anxiety (and for the rest of you who don't), next time you're feeling overwhelmed or uncertain try taking a stroll through your campus greenhouse. You might just find that it lifts your spirits and offers you a soothing space to seek clarity.