Forest Bathing in the Age of Covid-19
In this new era of extreme social-distancing due to Covid-19, Guided Nature and Forest Therapy (Shinrin-Yoku, or “Forest Bathing”) has become more essential than ever and yet more challenging than ever. On one hand, we have the science extolling the health benefits of time spent outdoors – not only for our physiological health, but also for our psychological well-being (and let’s be honest – we could all use some of that right now). On the other hand we face significant, if not outright deadly, public health concerns if we gather with people outside our household.
It’s a conversation we’ve been having for weeks within the Nature and Forest Therapy Guide Community, “but can’t we gather if we all just promise to stay six feet (two meters) away from one another?” We could, but that’s a public health risk we’re just not willing to take; our certifications in Wilderness First Aid taught us that the best treatment is prevention – and, sadly, prevention in this case means staying home.
While that leaves us with the disappointment of canceling walks that had been on the schedule for months, it also leaves us with the peace of mind that we’re putting public health first.
So what does this mean for our 2020 Walks Schedule? We wish would could give a clear answer to that – but right now we just don’t know, and we’ll have to play it by ear.
What we CAN offer is this: our presence and our support. While we may be publicly quieter than usual as we navigate this new liminality, we’re still here for you. Please feel free to reach out any time. We’re also working on few ways to harness the “world wide web” to guide you in your connection with the “wood wide web”:
- we’ll soon be releasing a digital audio file that you can download as an MP3 and take with you wherever and whenever you’d like to re-connect with your nature;
- we’re setting up some live, in-person Zoom calls where you’ll be guided through a modified Forest Bathing “walk” that you can join from your window, your yard, or your favorite local park; and finally,
- if you would prefer a one-on-one or private group guided session via phone or Zoom technology, we’ll be happy to provide it.
In the meantime, we invite you to find simple ways to connect with Nature daily. What would it feel like to eat your lunch outside every day? What would it feel like to just sit at an open window for 10 minutes and focus your attention on only one of your senses for the entire time? Do you have a houseplant? – if so, what do the plant’s leaves feel like? What does the potting soil smell like? We invite you to explore. The world is waiting for you.
Looking forward to reconnecting,
Leigha & Travis