Monday, October 26, 2015

Forest Bathing... It's a Real Thing

About a month ago, I found an article in Vegetarian Times (October 2015 issue) about shinrin-yoku or forest bathing.  No, it doesn't mean stripping down to nothing and running around in the woods naked.  It means "taking in the forest atmosphere".  We all know being outside gives us a vitamin D boost, but according to this article, being in the forest can also reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost your immune system.

Me- Forest Bathing

Fast forward to this past week.  It was probably the worst week at the hospital in a long time.  Just busy, understaffed,  it wasn't one big thing, just a million little things.  Two of my girlfriends and I had been planning for weeks to go to Copper Falls State Park on Saturday, but by Friday night, I was at my wit's end and almost texted to back out, but by the time it slowed down enough at work to do that, it was already after 10pm. 

Saturday morning was drizzly and looked miserable.  I called my mom and was telling her about all the little things that were going on, and they were so crazy- like hunting the hospital for chocolate pudding after the kitchen was closed because a patient insisted on chocolate- not vanilla, not yogurt, only chocolate pudding.  I just started laughing at the ridiculousness of it, and then I started crying because it's just all so crazy.  After I got off the phone, I texted my friend to be sure we were still on.  She thought the rain was going to clear off, so she thought we should give it a shot.

Well, we did.  On the two hour drive to Copper Falls we discovered that all three of us had had yucky weeks and we just vented a little and talked about life.  By the time we got to the park, it was chilly, but not raining and we were ready to give it a go.

Copper Falls

It was beautiful.  We hiked for hours.  We got off the main trail and went on the backpacking trail.  We didn't see another soul, and it was so peaceful.  The trail was yellow from falling leaves that covered it, and when we got to the bottom of the gorge we just sat by the river and watched the water.  We didn't even talk much.  We just walked.  And watched leaves fall from the trees.  And listened to the water.

Bad River- Seriously, that's it's name.
By the time we were done, my mind felt just as relaxed as it does after a massage.  My legs ached from walking, but it was a good ache.  I felt like I was going to make it.  Even if I had to go back to work on Monday and it was just as crazy as Friday, it was going to be okay.  So, that's when I became a convert of forest bathing.  I realized you don't get the same feelings from just being outside.  It's something about being deep in the woods.  Not hearing any traffic, not seeing any other people, just you and the trees.

So, if you're stressed out, and can't get in for a massage, get to the woods.  Find the nearest state park or county park and just get out.  Bring some water, some granola bars, and just start walking.  Make sure you know where you're going though.  Getting lost will probably just add to your stress, so try to avoid that.  :)

To see what everyone else is up, check out A Cute Angle's Monday Link Up!

1 comment:

  1. Awh!! I am sorry you had a yucky week but I am glad your plans did not change. I can see how being in the forest can be healthy for people. There is such beauty. I love the pictures you shared thank you!