Guest post by Megan from @fawnrose_ & @akemiaromatherapy
There is an old Japanese tradition called Shinrin-Yoku, which literally translates to ‘forest bathing’. It is a practice in which one simply spends time in Nature to feel well. When asked why we don’t practice self-care, the number one reason is that we don’t have time. Shinrin-Yoku reminds us that self-care is inside us; it is a method of stepping away from our screens, letting go of our restraints and simply being outside. It is a preventative step and a cure for many ailments prescribed by Doctors in Japan.
What can we take from this practice?
Through Shinrin-Yoku, we learn mindfulness and the act of mindful walking. Mindfulness isn’t just a state of mind, It is a practice of being observant. Step outside and notice what your sense are telling you; what do you see, smell, taste, hear, feel? Practice mindful breathing as you walk, talking deep steady breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Think of all the negative energy and emotions you are releasing with each exhale. You can even hold a crystal in your hand as you walk to help release any blocked negative energy. This can be an emotional practice but letting go of these feelings is a healthy and productive thing to do.
Mindfulness with children
As mothers it I can be hard to find space for ourselves; to find calm in the midst of chaos; to find peace in the orchestra of playtime, but by practicing mindful walking, one can feel almost immediately calm. It is also beneficial to our children health to help them find ways to talk about emotions and how to regulate themselves. By bringing your children with you, you are helping them access theses tools and making them more observant of themselves and their surroundings. Pack a notepad and a nature trail, encourage them to feel the ground, to smell the wood, to listen to birds song. Leave all screens and any distractions behind to truly focus on the moment. Talk to them at the start of their walk and ask them to be still and quiet for a moment, they will be amazed at what they notice when they are focused. Encourage them to make notes or draw pictures, to take their time, to stop in one space for a moment to reflect.
At the end of the walk be sure to ask your children if they would like to share any thoughts, but don’t force them to share if they choose to keep their thoughts to themselves, it is journey of discovery for them as much as it is for you. This practice is about setting good stepping stones for ourselves and our children, to be in the moment.
Shinrin-Yoku is a natural and effective way to boost our mental health and wellbeing, it is a calm and quiet practice and takes little effort. It is a vital survival technique, to feel the air in our lungs, to calm the clutter in our minds and to slow everything down.
After your walk, take a moment to reflect, close your eyes and think about what you have discovered or taken from this practice. You can write these thoughts down or simply think about them in your mind. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What did you learn about yourself during this practice?
What emotions or feelings have you released?
How do you feel?
Where have you put too much pressure on yourself and how can you release this?
What makes you smile and helps you be your best self?
How can you be more present in your day to day life?
I am Megan, aka @fawnrose_ on socials. I am a trained aromatherapist with an aromatherapy products brand which specialises in anxiety and the restless mind. If you’re interested in a product to improve your wellbeing and to help you find a moment for self care then please check out: