TIME FOR A FOREST BATH
I love taking a walk through the forest and native bush. Whenever I feel the need to switch off, be at peace and reconnect, I will meander through the woods and breathe deeply. In my time in Australia and New Zealand I have explored my local surroundings to find my favourite bush sanctuaries.
Nature can do wonders for our mind and soul. It helps us to de-stress, relax and be in the moment. The Japanese gave a name to this idea in the 1980s – Shinrin-yoku – which translates as Forest-bathing, and refers to the practice of walking in nature to connect with the natural world. It was developed as a practice to help those living hectic city lives in particular.
This notion of taking a bath in bush surroundings immediately lowers your blood pressure and has a calming effect. And when you start to incorporate this practice in your life, it can help bring you more mindfulness and serenity – much needed in this high-paced, stressful, digital and ever-connected world.
When Forest Bathing, it’s important to embrace stillness and be attentive to what’s around you – slow down, listen to the birds and the sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet, touch the bark and ferns, see the many colours, and notice the scent of the trees and earth.
The health benefits of this practice are numerous: improved immunity, reduced stress and blood pressure from a drop in cortisol production, improved moods, increased energy, clarity of thought and enhanced sleep to name a few.
With the stress of end of year, festive hosting and family pressures, now is a great time to give Forest Bathing a try and incorporate it into your wellness routine for the New Year.
Here are some of my favourite Forest Bathing spots in New Zealand and Australia:
- Riverhead Forest
- Muriwai Bush Forest
- Liffey Falls
- Lagoon Farm Forest
- Murrumbidgee River
Enjoy your Forest Bathing, and do share your experiences with us.