'It's a sense of calm…you can feel your shoulders drop'
Julie, Mount Stewart
For Julie, Mount Stewart provides her with a sense of calm. During a period of loneliness, Julie recognised her need to be outside amongst the trees and wide open spaces as a way to help work through these feelings. Her time spent at Mount Stewart, and in particular down by the lake, offered her some of the solace she needed. Feeling the physical, as well as mental benefits; of hearing the grass swaying in the breeze, the water lapping the shore and seeing nature in full bloom, had a profound impact. Now Julie shares her love for Mount Stewart with her husband and young children.
The healing power of nature
'I didn’t find my special place until I was in my 40s.
I think everyone has a special place, it’s just finding it.
When I first went to Mount Stewart I was feeling quite low. My mum had passed away two years before and it was coming up to her birthday weekend, and my daughter was at her Dad's.'
" It made me realise that I needed to spend more time with nature, just to help my own health and wellbeing."
'I was at a stage in my life where I’d been on my own for about seven years and I’d obviously lost my Mum.
I imagined everyone else was happy and everyone else was in a relationship, and I was alone and lonely at the time.'
" When I first discovered the lake, I was just in awe at the beauty of it, the colours and the whole atmosphere of it."
'It’s just a sense of calm. You can feel your shoulders drop and feel that your breathing is getting deeper.
It was just a complete 'doors opening', like a darkness shifting. It made me feel that I’m OK on my own.'
Sharing with loved ones
'The day after we got married it was the first place that Ali and I went to together. It started off as my special place and now it’s the family’s special place.
To be out in nature, I think is very important for a lot of people. If you’ve got somewhere where you can go and you enjoy being there, or you have happy memories of that place, you’ll get all of those memories back again.
It’s a feeling of accomplishment; that you’ve moved on in your life.
Going somewhere and finding your special place isn’t a quick fix. You don't wake up the next day and say "Oh everything’s brilliant."
It just gives you a stepping stone, and helps you to realise the potential that you have in your life.'
If you have been affected by this story, or are experiencing something similar yourself, or with loved ones, please contact Mind for information and support; www.mind.org.uk or 0300 123 3393, between 9 am - 6pm Monday to Friday.