Albert Einstein once said that if you look deep into nature, you’ll understand everything better. He was likely talking about physics when he imparted that wisdom, but his words also hold true when it comes to the healing role that nature can play after a divorce. 

When her husband of almost two decades came to her wanting a divorce in 2020, Tea Rozman was shocked. She had a lot of emotions, but her biggest worry was about her young daughters, who were 9 and 11 at the time. The life she knew and the life she envisioned for their future was disappearing before her eyes – but she didn’t allow herself to stay upset for long. She went to therapy and began to analyze the situation in a practical way. 

“I’m a learner. When something happens, I research the heck out of it. Soon, it became clear what I needed to do to move forward – I needed to prioritize health and healing and create goals that could bring me daily accomplishments.”

From marathons to mindful healing

Tea laced up her running shoes, and she ran. Then she ran some more. She ran her first marathon in October 2020, refusing to let eight inches of Minnesota snow stop her from reaching the finish line. Then she kept going. She ran through the spectacular landscapes of Iceland; she ran through Arizona and South Dakota. In November, she’ll complete the New York City Marathon, her seventh one to date.

“Running was a chain reaction for me. It was a chance to clear my mind, refocus, and gain confidence in a healthy way. It also helped me sleep, so I woke up in a better mood and had a better outlook on life.” 

But running – and the fresh air and gorgeous scenery that come along with it – was just one part of Tea’s path to healing. She took a six-week sabbatical from work in the summer of 2020, throwing herself into anything and everything that she thought could be beneficial to her well-being. She read books, journaled, did yoga, and participated in an eight-week Mind Body Healing workshop. 

She took a road trip with her friend, who had just called off her own engagement after discovering that her fiancé had cheated on her. They set out to clear their minds and say goodbye to their previous relationships. 

“We decided that we wanted to do a really significant hike,” she said, adding that they went to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to complete smaller hikes that could prepare them for their end goal – hiking one of the most challenging trails in Glacier National Park, the 15.2-mile Highline Trail. To this day, Tea still credits it as being the hardest hike she has ever done. 

“When I got to the top, the air was so fresh and cool. I looked down towards Grinnell Glacier, and everything was so small. My problems also got smaller. I was able to see what an ancient, big world we live in, and that everything was going to be okay,” she said. “I feel closer to my inner self, my soul, my heart, and all of humanity when I hike.” 

Tea and her friend also visited Chief Plenty Coups State Park in Montana, home to a sacred spring which is believed to have healing properties and holds great cultural and spiritual significance to the Crow people. 

She spoke to one of the members of the Crow tribe there, telling him about her journey. She asked if he had any wisdom to share. 

“He told me to start practicing on the bow and arrow. That’s because when you pull the bow back, it’s a process; it takes time, precision, and focus. But when you let go, you let go in an instant,” Tea said, adding that she did take his advice, buying a bow and arrow which indeed helped her let go. 

Tea and her two daughters also visited Miner’s Ranch, an equine therapy horse ranch in Gregory, South Dakota, where they allowed themselves to simply exist next to the majestic and gentle animals. 

Now, several years after her divorce, Tea says she’s in a good place. “I’m constantly moving forward; I don’t feel negative emotions anymore. That stuff happened in the past, and I’m living in the present and thinking about the future.”

 This fall, Tea is running the New York City Marathon and raising money for her favorite charity, Green Card Voices. If you would like to contribute financially, you can do so here.

Tea Rozman with her medal after running a marathon
Tea Rozman celebrates with her medal after completing her first marathon in October 2020. (Photo by Megan Padilla)

The healing power of ecotherapy and equine therapy

Tea’s experience of healing through nature is hardly unique. In fact, there’s an entire branch of therapy, known as ecotherapy, which is devoted to using nature to promote well-being, improve mental health, and reduce stress. 

“While therapeutic interventions are crucial for recovery, nature therapy contributes an additional layer of peace and well-being,” said Ida Covi, a Florida-based eco-psychologist and CEO of iRewild Institute, an international organization for thought leaders working to inspire ecological consciousness. 

“The serene embrace of nature can offer a profound sanctuary for healing. Individuals can find solace and renewal amidst the chaos of their experiences.”

She went on to explain the numerous healing powers of nature, which include stress reduction, improved mood, enhanced focus and clarity, a sense of belonging and connection, physical exercise, and reflection and personal growth. The best part of using nature to heal, according to Covi, is that there’s no wrong way to do it.

“Some people find solace and emotional rejuvenation by the ocean, where the rhythmic sound of waves and expansive horizon provide a calming effect. Others are drawn to the mountains, where the majestic peaks and fresh air foster a sense of tranquility and perspective. Forests, with their dense greenery and serene atmosphere, offer a sense of grounding and connection to life. Deserts, with their vast openness and unique beauty, can provide a sense of solitude and introspection,” said Covi, who is co-author of the book “Even the Caterpillar Sings: Bringing Our Souls Back into a Deeper Relationship with Nature.”

Like Tea, Covi also believes in the power of equine therapy. “Horses are incredibly intuitive animals, and their sensitivity to human emotions can create a unique and powerful therapeutic experience,” she said. 

She also stressed that those who live in dense urban areas can still experience nature within their surroundings. 

“Beyond green spaces and parks, I personally love to go to garden centers and relish the colors, scents, and varieties of the flowers and plants,” she said, noting that small church gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, college campuses, historical sites, botanical gardens, and even cemeteries are places that can offer greenery and tranquility away from bustling city streets.

And if you think you’re too busy to benefit from nature’s healing properties, Covi says to think again. 

“Just two hours a week in nature is enough to feel healthier and more content, and it doesn’t have to be done all at once – it can be done in a single visit or be spread out over multiple outings,” she said, adding that the benefits derived from these outdoor experiences can last from a few days to an entire month.