- Create “mindful reminders” by choosing something that happens randomly during your day such as getting a text, stopping at a red light, noticing a flowering tree, finding a red car, and others. Use it as a signal to pause and take a few breaths.
- Do more of what you love. When you get busy and stressed (which seems to be a lot at times) resist the tendency to skip the things that feel your soul. Instead, double down on what you love-whether it is hiking, reading, coloring, dancing, or spending time with people who make you laugh.
- Oil your feet before bed. Try a warm bottle of sunflower or coconut oil in a bowl of hot water, use about a tablespoon to coat your feet and ankles and massage each foot for a few minutes. You could even rub your special friend or person’s feet while they rub yours. This is very relaxing and could promote a good night sleep.
- Give yourself a good shot of nature throughout the day. Get outside for a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening. During your time outside bring in your sensory awareness such as the sounds, the feeling of the breeze, and the colors around you.
- Savor the good. Each day or night ask yourself “What was a great moment today?” This will help you change your thinking toward positive thoughts and emotions.
How it works: Gardening is shown to reduce depression, uplift mood, and improve memory. Some of this may be related to the effects of being outside in the sunshine, and fresh air, as well as enjoying the benefits of moving and getting exercise. There is also research that shows that being exposed to soil microbes actually has a similar effect on the brain and nervous system as some anti-depressants.
What is it? Japanese name for this practice is Shinrin-Yoku. Distinct from hiking, forest bathing is a practice of simply spending time in nature without any agenda. You can be in a remote area or even a park or urban forest to experience the benefits. Find a spot you love that is easy to access and just go outside. Refrain from text messaging.
How it works – Proven stress-relief comes from spending unstructured time in nature. There is a growing body of research that confirms the benefits, which include stress-reduction, improved immune system function, and reduction in anxiety and depression.
My favorite places for forest bathing are Lake Michigan, and in the woods in the fall and winter when there are few people. What is your favorite place to “forest bathe”? I love to either walk mindfully or just sit in one spot. Give it a try…I bet you will feel a sense of peace and a clearer mind.