Self Guided Forest Bathing
WHAT IS FOREST BATHING?
Forest Bathing or as it’s known in Japan as shinrin yoku and is the act of being calm and quiet amongst the trees whilst observing your surroundings and breathing deeply.
This activity can help adults and children de-stress. Instead of walking through the forest you become more present and take in nature’s offerings. Walking slowly encourages mindfulness and this is said to have a range of health benefits such as reducing stress, helping to improve sleep, reducing anxiety and depression, lowering blood pressure and heart rate and boosting the immune function.
SO DO I NEED A GUIDE TO TRY FOREST BATHING?
You don’t need a guide, but if you think you might feel silly walking at a snail’s pace through the woods we can recommend Adventures for the Soul who can create a tailor made experience for Sea Fern Cottage guests and to engage kids a Rewilding Adventure might capture their imagination.
For self guided Bathing
- Head to your nearest woodland
- Leave your worries in the car
- Walk very slowly and concentrate on what you can see, hear and smell.
- Stop to give trees, leaves, water, stones, seeds, insects and birds a closer inspection.
- Stand still, close your eyes and just listen. Can you hear any birds, running water or the rustling of leaves? Breathe deeply through your nose. What can you smell? Can you feel a breeze or the sun shining through the trees?
- Open your eyes and sit on a log or stone for a while. Are you near a grassy or mossy patch, if so are you able to take your shoes and socks off? Can you feel the ground? Is the surface that you are standing on hard or soft?
- Is there a breeze? Is it blowing your hair? Can you feel which way the sun is oriented in relation to you? Try turning though 90 degrees to your left or right. Does what you hear change? If the sun is shining, how does it feel now?
- With a child-like curiosity and willingness try to immerse yourself in the little things that you see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
- If there is a stream, dip your fingers in and focus on the cooling effect of the water and think about how it moves around your fingers.
- Pick up a leaf from the ground or pick one from a tree or shrub and examine it. What does it look like? Is it shiny or matte? What about the underneath? What shape is it? Does it have serrations? How does it smell?
- If you sit quietly for a little while, you might see birds and insects moving around you and you can watch them close up. Can you see a spiders web?
- Find a tree and place your hand on a tree trunk and feel it’s solidarity and strength. Imagine the tree’s routes spreading underground as far the canopy of leaves above you. You might want to give it a hug. How does it make you feel?
At the end of the walk, look to where you left your worries in the car. Hopefully, these have got smaller whilst you have been away. Before you leave, bring to mind three things that you experienced that made you feel good and try to keep these in your thoughts all day.
Come stay with us at Sea Fern Cottage and we will help you organise a forest bathing adventure during your holiday.