My Myplace Journey: Rachel

Alan Wright

Myplace participant, Rachel, talks about how our ecotherapy project, Myplace, has helped give her some much needed time to step back, relax and enjoy nature again.

Why did you decide to join the Myplace project? 

I was four-years into lone parenting after suddenly and unexpectedly losing my partner in 2015. I'd given up work to care for our little girl and try and get myself back on track.  I was still struggling with very low mood, loneliness and isolation.  I wasn't seeing or talking to any adults between school runs and spent most of every day on my own or with my little girl.  I felt like I was just existing with nothing in my life for me that I actually enjoyed doing and not much company.

Before life changed so suddenly and completely, I had been looking into getting involved with volunteering in conservation work as I've always loved nature and was considering it as a career.  I'd done a little bit in the past and really enjoyed it.

Myplace has made a huge difference to me.  It's literally helped me start finding my way back to me a bit, after feeling so lost, isolated, quite depressed and empty for a long time.  It's given me a direction, helped me start doing more things again, taking an interest and enjoying doing something worthwhile.

The Myplace sessions are always the highlight of what is often a lonely and stressful week for me. I always look forward to getting together with a group of lovely friendly people, to chat about our shared interest in nature, to learn new things and ways to help our wildlife. I quite often feel anxious because of things that happen in the week to me, but being involved in Myplace means I have something to look forward to and gets me through another week.  It's always fun and interesting, two hours of doing something for myself that I enjoy. 

Lone parenting means I don't get much time to myself but it's good to carve a bit of time out to do this with the group.  I feel happier, more relaxed and connected afterwards. I'm really grateful to Adam and the teams at the wildlife trust for what they are doing. It's a really valuable and lovely experience.

The Myplace sessions are always the highlight of what is often a lonely and stressful week for me.
Myplace Participant
The Hive, Bolton

How have things changed since joining Myplace?

Being involved with Myplace has given me a direction and inspired me. I've always loved nature but had lost myself a bit. I've more recently been signing up for quite a few webinars from the Wildlife Trusts which are just lovely, informative and interesting.  I've also tried to get my daughter more interested in wildlife/conservation too. She has joined in at home with some of the activities we've done online. I've been watching some of Chris Packham's broadcasts too on Facebook Live. 

I've taken more notice of the tiny creatures in my garden when I've done some digging, something I wouldn't necessarily have noticed before in the last few years. I am noticing things more, which is a good thing because I spent the last few years not really noticing a lot of things. I've been spending more time just standing in my garden listening and looking at things, appreciating the sounds of birds and nature and the quieter time during lockdown. I've definitely seen more birds and garden visitors about the last few months. I've been able to do that, just stand and appreciate quiet again. Quiet time for a few years was very difficult for me as I always needed a noise distraction due to what happened to us. Now I can appreciate silence again.

I've started going out on walks again now as well with my little girl.  We were both very excited to be out for a walk in our favourite place last week and really enjoyed all the nature and wildlife we saw.  It was so nice to see her as happy and interested as I was. I would like to get braver with my driving skills and visit more wildlife trust sites when we can to see more of these beautiful places.

Could Myplace support you or someone you know?

Our Myplace project has been running successfully since 2016 and since that time we have supported over 1000 people to live healthier, happier lives through regular contact with nature. Let us bring nature to you.

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