Forest Bathing is….
Okay, so this is not my typical topic for a blog post. However, let me explain why I’ve chosen to write about it. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed this school year. It’s not a typical year; it’s a year filled with many changes and stressors. I know it’s the same for my students and I want to help them. But how do I do that when I’m not at optimal mental wellness? It’s difficult to help others when you can just about take care of yourself. So, this year I’ve dedicated myself to finding new ways of boosting social emotional wellness through natural ways. Let’s just say, so far stress eating hasn’t worked out so well 😉
As part of an activity for our Staff Hygge Group, I arranged a certified forest therapy guide to take us out to explore and experience nature. We have off for President’s Week and due to the pandemic few, if any of us are travelling, so this was a perfect week. Though cold with snow and ice on the ground, we managed to set out on a sunny day. First, let me make it clear that COVID precautions were in place. Even though, we spent over two hours outdoors – masks were worn and social distancing (except for a group photo op) was maintained.
During our time communing with nature, we were ‘invited’ to experience the forest in unique ways. A series of seven invitations encouraged us to examine, smell, see and create. Let me be clear this was not a hike. We covered a mile in two hours. This was a mindful path through nature where we took time to experience nature, not to walk past it to get from point A to point B or to count towards 10,000 steps. This was an opportunity to slow down. To breathe. To see, really see. And, to embrace a mindful experience.
What are the benefits? Plenty.
Needless to say we are already planning our next forest bathing excursion – a little closer to Spring. The cleansing and healing powers of the forest have revived me. And so, I look forward to continuing to find my home amongst the trees.
May the forest be the place where your heart finds its home. Namaste.
The science behind forest therapy: Science Agrees: Nature is Good for You
Find a certified forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.
For more regarding hygge library programming, read this article: Boost Social-Emotional Health with a Hygge Library Program.