How I’ve gone from a city dweller to a nature loving 'tree hugger' - Sophie Mei Lan

This week's Sophie's World, Sophie Mei Lan reflects on how finding time to enjoy nature and take a break from fast-paced city living has helped change her life.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:45 am
Sophie Mei Lan enjoys time outdoors with friends and family.

If you’d have said that my mental breakdown recovery journey would take me from a city-dwelling journalist who’s “only walking when it’s through shopping centres” to writing about the natural rhythms of life, teaching barefoot yoga and discovering the power of complementary therapies to connect with the universe and my solar plexus, I would have choked on my

Chakras and shop-bought coffee as I unwillingly wrote about how nature is central to our ‘emotional and physical health’. But sometimes in our darkest moments, we find our deepest transformations and only have I truly started to heal as I connected with the wonders of the universe through a range of holistic treatments.

From decluttering my mind through mindful walking and meditation to energy healing through Reiki, dealing with trauma through manifestation and de-stressing the grip of an eating disorder through aromatherapy and anchoring myself with Qi Gong and even learning to teach Face Yoga!

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It seems I’m not alone in my unlikely healing journey as my friends have had similar experiences.

Abigayle Andre, Glam Aesthetic chief executive and co-founder of Glam and Grow group, says: “I used to work in the waste sector but it just wasn’t my calling anymore.” So she retrained and set up her own holistic skincare company.

“Your skin is a line of defence for the immune system – it also has a direct affect on self confidence. I take a 360 approach to help women feel good, look good and have better health.

Quite different to dealing with skips, landfill and recycling!”

Abi Fenton, a stressed teacher turned relaxed holistic healer, specialising in reflexology, Reiki and hypnotherapy, has gone from “not knowing anything about how to support my own mental health to being a complementary therapist specialising in supporting other people’s mental health due to my journey.”

My Qi Gong instructor has somewhat swapped the underground rock music scene where he would be found gigging, beer swilling and bouncing to loud music for the quietude of a therapy room practicing alternative therapies.

Mark Whitmore, of Beyond Healing, says: “Both worlds are very different, I have learned through direct experience that the world of music and the world of healing are both a part of nature’s dance and have the ability to send healing through our souls.”

This week marks Maternal Mental Health Week with the theme of recovery and next week is Mental Health Awareness Week with nature as its focus.

So it’s no coincidence I find myself excitedly messaging my own spiritually connected artist mother Panni Loh, who first introduced her reluctant daughter many moons ago to homeopathy which complemented my hardcore medication with natural remedies and visualisations.

Former make-up artist and “party girl” Samantha Justice Wheeler has pivoted from commercial photo shoots to photographing wildflowers and retraining as a life coach at Lemon Tree.

She says: “I honestly don’t know where I would be without nature. It heals, restores and uplifts my spirit. This I discovered was my healing, this was my medicine.”

Jill Ritchie is a corporate banker turned celebrity mindset and self-love coach. The mum-of-two explains how she was on a great salary but unhappy and felt disconnected from herself and her kids.

She says: “Instead of drinking yet more wine and taking anti-anxiety medications, I tried a basic meditation course, it was transformational and untapped the power within me, connecting me to my inner desires.”

As I ask her, “Mama tell me all about the Chakras!”, I realise just how transformed I truly am!

I have the deep peace of the universe now inside me thanks to the natural world of healing.

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