If you are a busy parent or professional, you probably feel like me, that there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything you need to do. When it feels like you’re working 24 hours a day, fitting in one more thing may seem impossible. But, it isn’t! If you schedule the time to enjoy some forest therapy, you will be able to carve out those extra minutes for yourself.
As a return, you gain the refreshing and healing benefits of forest therapy. I would love to share with you few tips, how you can fit forest therapy in your life without neglecting your family, work or good night’s sleep.
It’s all about making a plan
As a mother of two girls, I can relate to you all who are living busy life. It can become all too easy to get so caught up in the everyday chores, that you completely forget to take some time for yourself. To prevent this from happening, it is important to schedule nature time for yourself.
Go through this post and consider what elements of forest therapy you could adapt in your everyday life. And then, write them down in your calendar! I assure, that you can quite easily mix forest therapy with following:
- Family time
- Time with friends
- Outside exercise
- Morning ritual
- Lunch break
- Evening ritual
Mix some forest therapy with your family time
Forest therapy could be something, that you and your family could enjoy together. You could make it happen like once a week. That time should be scheduled beforehand. Each week, pick one nature activity for you to do with your children. I have noticed, that kids love when they can participate in the deciding and planing part. So, let them have a say in the activity. Ask them what they would want to do. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but I strongly encourage you to get fully engaged. Here are some suggestions for you to use:
- Roll down a grassy hill! Yes, you too!!
- Walk barefoot in different surfaces, such as grass, sand, little rocks…
- Balance on a fallen tree. Try with closed eyes!
- Run around in the rain! Feel the rain drops on your face…
- Play in sandbox and make cool sand cakes 🙂
- Bury each other with snow or make a snowman!
- Learn to do a forward roll or cartwheel on a grassy surface! We knew how to do this when we were children!!
- Have a picnic outside 🙂
- Read with your children in park or forest scenery…
- Fly a kite! Feel the wind!
- Find bugs in the grass. Make it a contest!
- Plant some herbs inside 🙂
- Find beautiful stones and other nature treasures…
- Go wild swimming!
- Do good! Pick up trash in local park. How much can you find?
- Imitate a bear, crab or some other animal walking and others try to guess. It’s funny!
- Or like my daughter, you can play horse riding on a fallen tree 🙂
Combine friend time and forest therapy
Everybody knows this, a busy lifestyle can definitely impact your social life. Now you have a chance to make a conscious effort to reach out and have strong relationships with your friends. Is there a friend who would be pleased, if you would ask her to come for a stroll in a park? You would get some vitamin N and have time to catch up.
Oftentimes, a quick catch-up session with a friend can be exactly what we need. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, that a friend may be nature’s most magnificent creation. So, why not combine those two!
Move one of your weekly exercises outside
Instead of hitting to the gym, go walking or running to the park or forest trail. You can also do nature yoga or stretching at your backyard or enjoy a bike ride. In forest, you can have a full body workout by using rocks and tree trunks, pulling yourself up with branches or doing push-ups with the help of a fallen tree or rock.
Develop your balance and agility by balancing on fallen tree trunks and jumping from rock to another. Move like bear and crawl like crab. The possibilities are endless! This also enhances your creativity. And the best part is, that this can be done with kids and it saves the trouble of finding a nanny!
Include a short nature connection moment to your morning ritual
Have your nature dose served you in the morning! The way in which we start our morning can heavily impact on how we feel throughout the rest of the day, so why not start it off on a good note? Take the first 15 minutes of your morning solely to yourself and have some quiet time.
If it is possible, try to rise with the sun. It is very powerful and energizing experience. If doing this every morning feels daunting, you can make this maybe a friday morning habit. A great way to power up your weekend!
So, set your alarm 10 minutes before the sun rises, so you have time to get a cup of coffee or tea and your favorite warm blanket. It would be great, if you could get outside in a comfortable chair to meet the sun, but it is perfectly ok to set yourself by the window too. Watch how the lightness reclaims the sky. Observe the colors, do they change with the seasons.
Have a lunch break, that will boost your creativity and concentration
To begin, book your lunch-break in calendar and schedule it to happen as often as possible. If your work consists mainly of brain work, it would be really beneficial for you to have an outdoor lunch every day. If it sounds too hard, could you stretch to something like wednesday nature lunch dates? Whatever you decide, commit to it. Even if you’ve got lots of emails to answer and people are asking for you.
Next it is important to plan beforehand where you want to go. If you’re lucky enough to have nice natural surroundings around your office, just step outside. If there’s a park near your office, then head there.
Studies have shown, that short walks in natural settings improved concentration and working memory by 20%. Spend time in nature to refresh your attention span and then you can return to work with renewed focus.
When you are having lunch in nature, let yourself enjoy clouds moving across the sky, leaves rustling in a breeze or water bubbling over rocks in a stream. These natural elements give your brain a break from stressful work. They tickle the other parts of your brain than logical work tasks do.
Natural settings also enhance your creativity. According to one study, participants stayed tree days in wilderness and afterwards their creativity test scores were 50% better. Therefore, regular outside lunch breaks will make you more productive in your work by improving your memory, concentration and creativity.
Evening routine with nature elements and thankfulness
You probably already have your own evening routine to carry out before going to bed. Can you find there an extra 10-15 minutes? Evening is a great time to do a gratitude exercise. First, create your own beautiful nature spot or altar. It can be a small table or one shelve in a bookshelf. Gather some beautiful stones, sea shelves, feathers, moss or lichen, driftwood shaped by the sea or cute small plant and be creative. Make it yours!
Finally, add a pretty jar, pen and paper on your nature spot. When everything is set, you can finish your day spending few minutes next to this nature art of yours. You can also touch and hold your treasures and try to silence your mind from the hustle and bustle of the day.
I think, that at the end of the day, it is nice to think about the good stuff. So, remind yourself of one thing each evening, that you are grateful for, and write it down on a paper. It can be anything – a huge one or the tiniest one. There are days, when it is hard to find anything to be happy about, but believe me, there is good in every single day. When you are done with your writing, drop the paper in the jar and watch your blessings piling up. On dark days, you can read some of these blessings and feel better.
Make daily forest therapy a routine!
What routine did you like the best? I hope there was something, that you can incorporate in your life. Pick the ones, that felt the best. You can go with spending nature time with kids once a week and giving 10 minutes of your evening for gratitude and nature elements. A morning person can wake up with sun every now and then and make forest dates with friends once a week. Or maybe you would gain the greatest benefit from outdoor lunch and the concentration boost it gives for your work.
Most importantly, make it doable, make it your priority and stick to it! Make it a routine, that benefits you everyday. This is not a diet, we are trying to maximize your true potential!
Warm and loving thoughts,