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Forest Bathing Without a Forest

Sitting by my open window in the morning, facing a forest, I realize the weather has turned chill. Soon, the nights will be too cold to sleep with the window cracked so I can hear the sweet serenade of crickets and cicadas.

I’ve switched my morning water from room temperature to warm, and crave a snuggly blanket around my shoulders as I work.

This particular morning, I smiled as I realized the forest – though several yards away from me – was giving me that same sense of peace, relaxation, and childlike awe, wonder, and curiosity that fuels inspiration, as I would if I went for a walk within it.

This is all I really need. A forest close to me, I thought.

Many of us already know the wonders of trees and forests, and forest bathing. Scientists say it can truly destress you. We know it lowers our heart rate and blood pressure.

But what if we can’t get to the forest every day? What if you don’t live by one, are physically able to go walk, or simply don’t have time or energy? How can we get the benefits of forest bathing without being in the forest?

Well, if you’re lucky like me and can simply have a window where you can see and hear a forest – I’m also close to a main road, so despite the sounds of cars, trains, and lawn mowers, I can still feel relaxed from the forest – that’s really all you need. Five minutes a day to sit and stare outside and listen.

But if you don’t have that, there are other ways too.

Find ways to bring the forest inside, to you.

Wall hangings, paintings, imagery of forests and plants, these will all work.

If you are able to, grabbing a few houseplants, especially ones that look similar to ones you’d find in your local forest, are also great ways to bring nature in. Fresh-cut flowers, ones you pick yourself from a local farm, or pick up form the nearest grocery store, are also lovely ways to bring nature inside.

One of my favorite ways though, is the sounds of the forest. For me ultimately, the sound of breezes through trees, little bugs singing songs, a squirrel running over some leaves…these are really what make me feel relaxed.

Thankfully, there are so many long, free ambient sounds on the internet and on apps on our phones that allow me to bring the sounds of nature inside. Try falling asleep to crickets instead of white noise, or playing ambient noise while you work instead of the radio. You might be surprised how quickly you fall asleep, or how much less stressed or exhausted you feel after work.

Lastly, the smells of the forest too. Woodland or woodsy scents and smells, or fresh and crisp ones, will give off the same feeling of being in the forest as well. But also, essential oils actually contain the same essences and compounds as their live counter parts, meaning you will actually receive the same chemicals in the air as you would if you were in a forest.

These are a few ways to use our senses to bring the forest inside to us, and essentially, forest bathe without being in the trees.

Do you forest bathe? Let us know over on Instagram and facebook.

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