In Japan Shinrin-yoku, or Nature Bathing is a popular way to enhance self-care. Nature bathers spend time out of doors and walk, stand or sit to quiet their mind and take in the benefits of our natural world. It’s good for us to spend time out of doors. When out in nature we improve our mood, breathe easier, recharge mentally and physically and improve our ability to focus.
Even city dwellers can make nature bathing a habit. Here are thirteen ways to spend quality time in nature and receive all the benefits of immersing ourselves in nature.
- Do a Gratitude Walk
Identify a lovely outdoor venue—a park, a nature trail, a beach or a garden. Take an intentional walk through the venue, all the while identifying and experiencing a grateful heart for all the good things in your life. Remember your relationships, your material possessions, your experiences and verbally express thankfulness. You’ll be surprised how relaxed you’ll feel after this focused experience.
Plant something. Whether it’s a large vegetable garden or a flower patch or even just a few potted plants to enjoy, gardening and watching something grow to fullness is a very gratifying thing to do. Take your time and be aware of the way handling the seeds or plants and the soil reflect our basic instincts to be productive.
- Go to a Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets bring a variety of creative folks together. You’ll find home-baked breads and pastries, fresh vegetables and flowers, honey and homemade soap and so much more. The market harkens back to earlier times when everyone grew their own food and made their own possessions. Farmer’s markets have a festive quality to them as if you’re enjoying a performance. It’s fun to be part of that experience. And you’ll go home with some wonderful products.
- Visit a Zoo
Take your time as you wander through the animal exhibits. Spend extra time at an exhibit that teaches you something new. Try the butterfly house or the bee exhibit. Stop for some extended time to observe a certain animal. Take note of behaviors and the beauty of that particular creation. Slow down and enjoy.
- Nature Journaling
Being in a natural setting lends itself to pondering and expressing emotions. Take a journal to an outdoor setting. Take some time to settle in, get quiet, and then express your feelings, your questions, your experiences, joys and whatever else comes to mind. The process of expressing your thoughts and emotions in this setting will be healing.
- Go Fishing
Grab a pole, buy some bait or go out and dig some worms and get back to basics by catching your own dinner. The nearness to the water, the breezes that blow as you cast your line, the fun of finally getting that bite, and maybe landing a fish—all of this is a good way to go back in time and enjoy the great outdoors.
- Take a Park Stroll
This may sound dull, but it can be wonderful. Choose a park that has room to roam. Be intentional about searching for beauty, wildlife, gorgeous plants, trees and flowers. Take the time to look carefully, find the beauty and feel the wonders of the natural world.
- Go Fruit Picking
Get out of the city to the nearest rural area and find a u-pick farm. They’re more available than you might think. Pick some strawberries, blackberries or apples. Take them home and create a delectable dessert. You’re liable to trigger some memories from days when we all lived closer to the land.
- Go on a Picnic
Pack a lovely picnic. Go out of your way to include something special—a homemade dessert, a nice bottle of wine, an assortment of cheeses and a crusty loaf of bread. Spread out a blanket or find a picnic table and then take your time enjoying the experience. Slow down. Take a siesta. Enjoy.
- Go Birding
All you need to be a birder is a decent pair of binoculars and a field guide. Most likely you already know the local birds, but if you get outside the city and find a natural area, you’ll learn to identify a whole host of other bird species. It’s a lot of fun and it costs you nothing.
- Do a Nature Art Project
Kids love to create art projects from found objects. News flash! You’ll enjoy it, too. Gather natural objects as you wander a trail, pinecones, leaves, rocks, shells, and whatever. Take the objects home or work in the natural setting to create a piece of art from your treasures. You may end up with a mobile, a wall hanging, a booklet, or whatever the objects become. It’s fun.
- Go on a Boat Ride
A sure way to relax and enjoy the outdoors is to go for a boat ride. It may be a fast motorboat, a kayak, a rowboat or a sailboat. The feeling of floating on the water and the sights seen along the way make these rides therapeutic.
- Attend an Outdoor Concert
Gathering in a large group in the out of doors to enjoy music is one of life’s great joys. It may be classical, folk or old-time rock and roll, you’ll find yourself smiling and relaxing as the concert goes on.