🌿🫶 Sunday Self Care: Forest Bathing to manage holiday stress

Are you starting to stress about the upcoming holiday season, aka stress and anxiety season as I like to call it?

I know I am 🥴.

When I start to feel overwhelmed, anxious or overridden by my emotions, I take it as a sign that I need to slow down and get outside.

If you’re starting to feel the holiday season whirlwind of emotions creep in, I invite you to take some time today to sneak in some self-care before the holiday craziness begins.

Here is a simple, easy practice you can implement to reduce stress, soothe your nervous system and manage anxiety.

🌿 Sit Spot practice

Find a sit spot:​
A sit spot is a location you can return to over and over. Find a spot outside where you feel comfortable. It doesn’t need to be deep in the woods but it is ideal to have some greenery around you. I have a few sit spots, one in my backyard, the front yard, and a few different spots at my favorite local parks. Convenience is key. You want this to be a spot you can visit repeatedly and as frequently as you want. A simple patch of grass by the sidewalk will do or you can even find a spot inside with a houseplant if going outside isn’t an option. You can sit or lie down, be in a chair, or be on the ground. Make yourself comfortable.

​The practice:​
Spend 30 minutes simply sitting and observing all that is around you in your sit spot. The practice of simply sitting and observing is where mother nature invites peace & presence in. I know this sounds crazy and the biggest obstacle will be giving yourself permission to just sit. You may have an edge around “just sitting” for that long so feel free to start with 10 or 15 minutes and build your way up. I promise it will be worth it.

Once you’re comfortable, begin to call in all your senses. Start with your sense of direction. Is there a particular direction you want to face while in your sit spot? Play around with this as though your body is a radio and you are tuning in to the direction that feels just right for you.

Once settled, don’t just observe with your eyes but try observing with your ears. What noises do you hear? How close or far away are the sounds? Tune into your sense of smell. Are you picking up any scents? What about taste? Can you breathe in as though sipping air through a straw and pick up any tastes?

Try simply sitting. Just sitting is also enough.

Extra Credit:

Sit Spot + Nature Journal
​Create or purchase a journal to record observations at your sit spot. It doesn’t have to be fancy or special, it can be paper stapled together. Creating a journal can be part of the process (kids especially love this). After spending 20 minutes in your sit spot use the remaining time to record in your nature journal. This can take many forms: written, sketched, poetry, prose, photos, voice recordings, videos, and collected objects. Whatever feels best for you.

​Journaling Ideas:​
There are no rules or requirements for your nature journal. You might want to record some observations about nature; what the weather is like, what sounds you hear from the trees or other plants nearby, what the clouds are like, and what patterns or textures you see.

You may want to record what’s happening inside you. Your mood, any inspirations or insights that come to you.

You can record what you pick up with your senses, what you hear, smell, feel, and taste. Maybe try assigning a color to each sound, texture, smell, etc, and see what unfolds.

You can craft a story based on what you observed. Make up a storyline to go with your observations using your imagination.

The goal here is expression, not perfection.

​Cultivate your practice:
​This is a practice. There is no end destination or end goal, it’s really a matter of finding the right amount of time that fits your schedule. Aim for a weekly session and see how that feels. Consistency is key.

You might not think this small practice would have a big impact but I promise you it will. When we can be still and just witness what is going on around us in nature, something opens up inside us. We start to shift perspective. We start to feel more connected to our world, others, and ourselves.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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