How to Extend the Benefits of Forest Bathing Through Creativity and Other Inside Joys
When you experience the joy and benefits of Nature Connection it’s natural to want to extend the benefits of Forest Bathing between sessions too. It’s logical isn’t it, that integrating the practice into your everyday life is the best way to make the most of it and prolong the incredible benefits. But what if you can’t get outside that often, your free time is limited or it’s winter and there’s insufficient daylight?
Luckily, there are lots of ways to extend the benefits of Forest Bathing and keep your nature magic topped up whatever your lifestyle, and here are just a few.
Keep a Forest Bathing Journal
Set aside some time after you’ve been Forest Bathing to journal about it. Focus on how you were feeling and how your body was responding during your time connecting to the forest. This isn’t an exercise in the accuracy of what you saw or the path you took, it’s a way to bring those feelings back and truly connect with them. It’s also a great way to relive your experience and enjoy it all over again – and wonderful to look back on after a tough day too.
You can also add drawings to your journal or other forms of creative expression to highlight certain aspects of the experience that were especially powerful to you or to express emotions or bodily sensations without trying to find words that can sometimes fall short.
Example Journalling Prompts
Here are a few journal prompts you might like to try, remembering to use them as a starting point and allow yourself to follow the threads as they come up. My Little Box of Forest Bathing Cards can also be used as journal prompts and there are various prompts included in our popular Online Nature Connection Course.
- What things did you see that brought you joy or peace?
- What sounds did you hear that you loved?
- How did the ground under your feet feel? Did you notice any other senses while focusing on the ground; did the smell change as you moved? Could you hear crunching or other sounds?
- How would you describe the smells of the forest?
- What emotions came up while Forest Bathing?
For many of us, living very stressful lives can make going slower and feeling at peace a strange experience. Allowing ourselves time to sit with that, go over those feelings and become comfortable with them can not only prolong the benefits of our time in nature, but also increase the benefits next time.
Get Creative to Extend the Benefits of Forest Bathing
Wait, don’t panic 😁 No matter how creative (or not!) you think you are, there are ways to re-experience the forest creatively so please don’t skip this just because you don’t think you’re good at drawing!
If you are a natural artist though, turning to your favourite format and using that to explore what you think and feel about nature is a great way to further the benefits of Forest Bathing – but you’re probably doing that already!
For those of us who aren’t Van Gogh, collage can be a wonderful way to activate your imagination and express yourself visually. You can combine cuttings from magazines, photos, imagery you’ve found online, stickers, stamps, scrapbooking paraphernalia, and even natural treasures that you find in the forest to get creative.
Using Natural Resources
Making use of the gifts Mother Nature has for us is another beautiful way to continue to connect and making pine needle tea is a prime example. You might find some snacks like sweet chestnuts to bring home too.
There are lots of other forest-related recipes just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Of course, always be careful to check that what you’re picking is safe for consumption and you might also want to wash it beforehand.
There are even ways to use things you find in the forest around the home, like conkers as laundry detergent!
Talk About Your Experience
Sharing your Forest Bathing joys with others simply by talking about it is a wonderful way to reconnect yourself and potentially encourage others to discover how powerful it can be.
Talking can be especially powerful if you chat with others who have done Forest Bathing, so if you went as a group try to make time to discuss or meet up later, but is also useful even if you’re sharing with someone who hasn’t ever been to a forest.
If you’re chatting to other Forest Bathers, focus on how each of you naturally focuses on different things, how the sensations are different, and what feelings come up – maybe you’ll have a totally different experience next time after hearing how other people feel in the forest.
Create Your Own Guided Meditation
We’ve all heard about all the incredible benefits of meditation but did you know that you can create your own guided meditations focused around Forest Bathing or any connection with nature?
If you’ve been journaling about each session this can be turned into a meditation script or used to help you write one. But if you’re not a writer, simply recording yourself talking about your experience of the forest in a slow, soft voice works beautifully as a meditation without the need to write a script.
You can use this every time you need to decompress or want to connect with nature; listen to it before you go to sleep or as part of a regular meditation practice.
Decorate Your Space to Extend the Benefits of Forest Bathing
And finally, take a few nature-beings home with you to remind you of your connection with the forest. You can create an altar to nature or just dedicate a corner of your home to your Forest Bathing trips and fill it with leaves, twigs, conkers, acorns, pine cones, stones and any other bits that catch your eye. In this way, even at home, you’re reminded of the peace you’ve felt and the connection you’re building to Earth and all the joy it brings you.
Note: only take home what is around in abundance and consider whether the wildlife needs the nature-being more than you do.
How Will You Stay connected?
Hopefully, this has given you plenty of ideas to keep your nature connection topped up between your Forest Bathing sessions. I’d love to hear any other ways that you extend the benefits of Forest Bathing!
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