March, 2024

Many of us live a digital lifestyle where technology integrates into almost every aspect of our lives. Our society thrives on technological innovation and digital connectivity. The convenience of our digital companions is indisputable, we have come to expect lightning-fast communication and instant access to information. We have learnt to manage the relentless notifications that demand our immediate attention and accepted the subtle erosion of our work-life boundaries. Whilst we revel in this digital revolution there is a growing concern that it is affecting our wellbeing in ways we do not yet fully realise.

In this fast-paced digital era our relationship with technology can lead to what has been termed tech burnout. Our ceaseless connectivity, information overload and constant demands imposed by our digital devices is threatening our wellbeing. But what can we do to protect ourselves from the potential physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion experienced from prolonged and intensive engagement with technology?

Shinrin yoku or forest bathing emerged in Japan in the 1980s to help ameliorate the symptoms of tech burnout. Early warning signs included constant fatigue, diminished productivity at work and emotional exhaustion. Often triggered by the pressure to be constantly digitally connected, creating an information overload that could overwhelm our cognitive capacity.

Forest bathing is a practice which encourages relaxation and reduces the stress response. Research has found that spending time in forests can reduce our blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and even boost our immune system through the trees release of phytoncide chemicals.

Whilst forest bathing is now part of the Japanese government’s national health programme, it is no more complicated than spending time in nature. This could be a local woodland, park or even your garden – you just need to find some green space. The aim is not to go for a walk as a form of exercise, but to slow down and use all your senses to observe the natural world.

Here is a basic guide to get you started;

  1. Turn off all digital devices, you want to ensure you are not disturbed so you can be present in the moment and enjoy your sensory forest experience.
  2. Slow down and move quietly through the forest, allowing yourself to see and feel more.
  3. Take some slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  4. Breath through your belly not your chest, let it rise and fall rhythmically.
  5. Perhaps sit a while and ask yourself – what can you see, feel, smell, hear, taste?
  6. Take joy in discovering the little wonders of the natural world, like a child might.
  7. Try not to think about your to do list, your problems, let them float away on the breeze.
  8. Be thankful for this moment and feel connected to the natural world.

If you would like to try forest bathing with an experienced guide, join us on Saturday 4th May 2024 at 1pm in the Woods at Oakley. This is a complimentary offer for our wedding couples with tickets available to buy for £25 for other friends, family and interested forest bathers.

The session will be run by Jola an experienced facilitator who has written some beautiful bespoke meditations to help you connect with the woods and each other. If you would like to book a place, including complimentary tickets please complete this form;

Payment and booking is due in advance of the event.

We look forward to welcoming you to the woods soon.

Lindsay and Jola