On the Joy of Forest Bathing

Though I live in the heart of a metropolis, I'm fortunate to have the ocean, forests, and mountains all within biking distance. As I’ve been exploring new forms of self-care during these times of physical distancing, I’ve found the forest most accessible.

Forest and trees with sunlight
Photo by Shawn Price licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The Japanese phrase shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing.” Meandering along a forest path by myself, I can admit that the experience is akin to a calming bath. Whether it’s a sunny, rainy, warm, or cold day, the forest breaths limitless life to refuel on.

Forest in winter with snow
Photo by Shawn Price licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Upon entering the forest my mind is still fixed to the current day's thoughts, stresses, plans, and anxieties. My mind will jump from one thing to another. But without fail, after about ten to 15 minutes, a calmness arrives.

Sunlit forest and ferns
Photo by Shawn Price licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

It’s at this point where I experience the most heightened form of diffuse thinking. My thoughts clear away leaving bursts of creativity mixed with periods of calm stillness.

Sunshine flowing through leaves
Photo by Shawn Price licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

By the end of the walk, I've often discovered new approaches to problems I’ve been facing during the week. I've recorded voice memos of specific ideas I intend to take action on. And my mood and mind are always refreshed and recharged.

Path through a forest
Photo by Shawn Price licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Make sure you’re getting outside. And if you can, take a bath in the forest.

Creative Commons LicenseLicensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0