Sometimes a little dip into nature does the trick, but sometimes, nothing short of full woodland immersion is going to work.
Most days my spirits can be revived by a quick dog walk round the block, appreciating the changing leaves, a bit of moss here and there. The crows, of course.
Last week though — I’m not sure it was a touch of flu, too much turkey at Thanksgiving, or watching the second US presidential debate — but I was running on my last cylinder.
Although I felt mostly like sleeping, we went for a walk around Lynn Headwaters Park.
Because fierce rain and windstorms were predicted, last Wednesday seemed bathed in a golden light. It was a perfect fall day, all the more special for the impending weather doom and gloom.
Also, I hadn’t been in the woods for several weeks due to a series of unfortunate lower leg events. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.
Three hours felt like the equivalent of a week’s magical vacation.
Coincidentally, ever since then I’ve been seeing the Japanese practice of “Forest Bathing” or “Shinrin-Yoku” popping up on my social media, and even in today’s local paper. If you Google the term “forest bathing” you’ll see that everyone from The Globe and Mail to Oprah is talking about it.
It seems that something we’ve always known intuitively is backed up by science. A walk in the woods is good for your health — physical and mental. No need to work up a sweat either. It’s simply being in the presence of trees that provides the benefit.
So, if you can, get out and find some trees to bathe with right now.
If you can’t fit it into your schedule immediately, I hope you’ll enjoy these photos.
Think of it as just a preview of your own real woodland walk, coming soon.
Should you ever doubt the calming effect of a woodland walk, compare Geordie’s before and after pics.
BEFORE – in the car on the way to the park. Geordie always suffers a bit of car-ride anxiety, worrying perhaps that we’ve changed our mind and are returning him to the shelter in California whence he came.