Too much screen time, artificial lighting and long hours spent in office air-conditioning—there’s no doubt that when it comes to our daily life, we spend far too much as far from anything resembling nature as we can, resulting in a hefty amount of strain on our mental and physical wellbeing.
The solution? Well for some, it might just be forest bathing. Nope, we don’t mean taking a bath in the middle of the forest (though that does also sound kind of blissful), we’re talking about the practice of spending mindful time in forests and gardens, using all your senses to connect with the environment and clear your mind.
While it might sound strange, the concept is based off the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or literally, ‘forest bath.’ It’s said to have the power to counter illness, decrease anxiety, boost the immune system and help you sleep, but at the very least, it might just help you get through a stressful week.
So what does it involve? Nothing that will send any strange looks your way, don’t worry. Basically, you’ll want to leave your phone behind and find a pocket of nature—a nearby park or nature reserve will do—and just savour the sights, sounds and smells of the natural environment surrounding you. Take a slow wander if you like, or take your shoes off and lie on the grass below the leafy canopy above—the important thing is to be present. So stop thinking about those emails and focus on the patterns in nature instead, take some deep breaths, and feel your worries drifting away.
Even a 20 minute forest bathing session once a month is said to help de-stress anyone feeling overwhelmed, so instead of spending your next lunch break hunched over your phone, why not give forest bathing a go?
Want to really get away from it all? Book an escape to one of Australia's best wellness retreats.
Image credit: Allef Vinicius