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How nature can help us grow in difficult times

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognised need of the human soul. Simone Weil

We are all living in a very difficult and emotionally challenging time and have no idea how long we will have to continue to stay at home and keep our distance from our family, friends and colleagues. While we have all had our worlds turned upside down it also gives us some time to think and reflect on how we live our lives and what is most important to us. 

It’s also easy to forget that in times of extreme difficulty how much we may be able to  learn and benefit from nature and how it can help us. As well as benefitting my own mental wellbeing from my daily walk in the local woods or park, I am also spending more time than usual in the garden. It occurred to me how ironic is it that in this nightmare of a pandemic some of us have been very fortunate to have experienced some sunny, warm weather. All the plants are flourishing and thriving and blossom is festooning the trees and an absolute joy to see. Listening to the birdsong and watching the robins build their nest in the new silence that has become the norm in our garden. I am the first to acknowledge how fortunate I am to have a garden to enjoy as a sanctuary and counter balance to the distress and trauma being experienced with coronavirus. 

While sitting in the garden I have been re-reading Chris Johnstone’s book, Seven Ways To Build Resilience. Chris refers to ways in which we can use difficult times or situations to grow and develop as individuals and he links it to nature. In his book Chris talks about how a tree responds to drought and how in dry conditions as the tree struggles to survive the roots grow longer and stronger. The roots tether it firmly and draw nutrients deeper from the ground. He encourages us to use this image to consider some questions we can ask ourselves in times of crisis to help build our resilience.

  •  How can we anchor, sustain and nourish ourselves in this extremely challenging time? 
  • What strengths, resources and experiences do we have that we perhaps don’t use or even acknowledge? 
  • How can we strengthen, support and contribute to the community we belong to and nourish those connections we see have helped to protect us and give meaning to our lives? 

I appreciate many of you may be struggling to find any time alone in lockdown, especially if you have a household with children or other family members and you may be overwhelmed with juggling work commitments as well. If you can take an opportunity to sit back and relax for a few minutes, preferably in your garden or private outside space at home use it as an opportunity to take time to think. Focus on your own self care with patience and compassion. Just let your thoughts gently unwind and think about the questions above to help you reflect, to find your purpose and what really matters to you. You may not know all the answers now in the midst of this crisis but it is worth being patient and taking some time now and again to creatively express your thoughts, you can write in a journal, draw or just think. Use this as a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness helping you to build your resilience and wellbeing by aligning your values and beliefs. Ask yourself,

  • What good can come from this?

By focusing on what we can learn and benefit from during this challenging and overwhelming experience will help to change our relationship with adversity and build our resilience. Having a strong sense of purpose is important to helping us get through this difficult and worrying time. By visualising how we can see ourselves in the future when this pandemic has gone we can focus on finding our purpose and even how to start achieving a sense of rootedness again with kindness, patience and compassion.

Sources & Recommended Reading: Seven Ways To Build Resilience, Chris Johnstone 2019

If you are looking for support during this challenging time of uncertainty and would like to talk please contact me at or on 07736 649584 for a complementary consultation or go to


Kate Darbyshire Evans

Kate Darbyshire Evans

Helping women entrepreneurs and designers in the fashion industry who struggle with overwhelm and anxiety to thrive

I help women entrepreneurs and designers who struggle with overwhelm and anxiety to rethink their response to stress and learn how to accept, embrace and utilise it to become more resilient, happier and more successful. Stress is inevitable but by changing your attitude to stress you can transform your challenges and difficulties into opportunities and possibilities. Utilising stress can be liberating and empowering by choosing to see stress as your friend, rather than seeing it as your enemy. By building your resilience you will be able to remain flexible in your responses to your thoughts, behaviours and emotions when under stress. Learning how to transform stress and make it work for you is exciting and liberating. As a result you will feel more empowered, confident and resilient and be able to: • rethink and change your attitude to stress • know what it means to be good at stress • embrace challenges with confidence and positivity • persist in the face of setbacks • use anxiety to help you rise to your challenges • see effort as the way to mastery and achievement • turn nerves into excitement • how to turn a threat into a challenge • turn adversity into a resource • turn self focus into bigger than self goals As an experienced coach, with over 20 years in the fashion industry at director level, I love helping and supporting women to explore and understand the real underlying causes of their stress that undermines their resilience. My aim is to bring clarity, motivation and purpose by helping them challenge their attitude to stress and move from a fixed mindset towards a growth mindset. To learn the skills to respond to their thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a positive, powerful and sustainable way. This enables them to strengthen their resilience and increase their self-esteem so they can more confidently deal with the challenges that life throws their way. Running a business, whether or not you employ people or not is often isolating and very challenging at times. You can easily become overwhelmed by the workload, constant change and the responsibility it involves. Stress and burnout can creep up on you. I understand what burnout is like that having personally experienced severe stress in my twenties. I have also experienced some major challenges and changes in my life, including redundancy, severe injury and divorce so I appreciate and value the importance and benefits of developing resilience and self-care. Women want to manage their lives better, both practically and emotionally and achieve their goals and aspirations. As an owner and manager of people it is important that you create an environment where you, your people and the business can flourish and thrive. This requires focusing on becoming resilient by developing a growth mindset and accepting and embracing stress rather than trying to avoid or reduce it. In addition to I speak on how to rethink and transform attitudes to stress to empower women and build their resilience. I also write articles on the subject.

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