The last year had proved the importance of the great outdoors and its impact on mental health and wellbeing; never has going for a walk felt more valuable
Personally, I’ve always been drawn to taking long walks and getting lost in nature, but until recently it never really dawned on me just how beneficial doing this was for my state of mind. Everyone likes a walk along a beach in the summer, it’s a huge part of most summer vacations – hearing the sea crashing on the shore, feeling the sand between your toes and the warmth from the sun on your face as you clear your mind from the stresses of your regular day-to-day routines. I know we are all feeling in desperate need of this kind of escape right now, but maybe you don’t have to hop on a plane to get the same sort of mental breathing room?
Most people live within walking distance, or at least a short car ride, from a park or woodland area, and just spending time there can be hugely therapeutic. Whether it be a walk with the dog, a picnic with the kids or an off-road bike ride – all forms or exercise and activity can help. Science backs this up too. Research shows that spending time in forests can improve our health and wellbeing.
For me, there’s nothing better than walking through woodland – standing amongst the tall pine trees with their swaying branches overhead – and this is the start of forest bathing. It’s officially known as Shinrin Yoku, essentially it’s a relaxation process that takes place in the woods. It not hard to do, doesn’t require any level of fitness (unless you are walking to a woodland that is miles from home!), and can leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
If you get a chance to try, here are some suggestions as to how to get the most from your forest bathing: