So much of our world now is fast, fast, fast … even the physical speed we move at can be fast. How much can you accomplish in a small amount of time? How much can you cram into a weekend or a day off? How productive can you be?
But is that really what is best for us?
What would happen if you tried to slow down and be a little less busy? A little less productive? Move a little slower? Accomplished a little less?
One of my favorite ways to slow down is to head to a forest for a wander. Not a speed walk, but a dawdle through the trees with my camera. Taking in all that I can and capturing all the amazing things that I see along the way.
This way of basking in nature is actually referred to as Forest Therapy or Forest Bathing.
Forest Therapy in the simplest of forms can be described as mindfulness in nature. It revolves around spending time in nature, particularly among the trees.
Taking your time to move slowly through the environment, or even just sit. Close your eyes and just breath … then open your eyes and open your senses.
What can you see … what do you smell … what can you hear … is it warm or cool … what does the light look like as it filters through the trees?
Taking the time to notice big & little things like tiny mushrooms on the forest floor or how the branches of the trees catch the falling snow.
Spending time in nature can actually be an antidote for stress!
It can actually lower you blood pressure and cortisol levels, decrease nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, decrease anxiety, and improve mood.
“As we strengthen our connection with the natural world, our sense of beauty, wonder, awe and curiosity is restored and our brains and nervous system are calmed. Stress levels are lowered and the immune system boosted.”
Where are my favorite places around Peterborough to get a dose of nature?
So, will you join me for a little Forest Therapy this week?
I think we could all use a dose right about now, don't you?
I think that we have reached the point in time where everything is getting to be a bit much … or at least it is for me.
Working full time, kids learning online from home, technology problems, internet problems, covid rules/recommendations, lockdown fatigue, dire predictions, feeling disconnected from friends & loved ones … just a few examples of what is leading us towards feeling overwhelmed.
So what can you possibly do?
First … take a deep breath and saw out loud “I am feeling overwhelmed” … (substitute in whatever specifically you are feeling if it is different) … Acknowledging what you are feeling is always the first step to making positive changes.
Second … take a deep breath … not to minimize what you are feeling, but we are all struggling with the same things right now. So join the club and let’s figure this shit out!
Third … figure out what issues are in your control to fix and what issues aren’t … There is absolutely no point stressing about something you cannot control. I will let you in on a little secret that I just figured out for myself this morning … grade 6 success does not hinge on your kid’s ability to connect to their google class meet for the full 225 minutes each day, and if the internet goes down, there is literally nothing that you can do about it … so just take a deep breath.
Forth … make a list of activities, people, places or things that help you relax, feel connected and fill your heart … there is a way to navigate while making sure to follow covid guidelines, it just takes a little creative thinking sometimes.
Fifth … prioritize something from that list every day … with one conscious step at a time you can shift towards being in a place where you feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed and happier.
Sixth … try including some conscious breathing exercises in to every day (as often as you need) … here are some breathing exercises that I really like … conscious breathing directs your awareness to the qualities of you breath, is it shallow and fast or deep and slow, and can allow you body to shift away from a sympathetic nervous system response (fight or flight) and back to a more restful and restorative pathway.
Don't forget, we will get through and be better for our experiences in the end.
Breathe in ... breathe out ... and repeat as often as necessary ... YOU HAVE GOT THIS!
Brien-anne RMT, CA
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy & Aromatherapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering & inspiring others to do the same!