Some of you know I've been an Executive Assistant with the National Park Service for several years now. In a week, I'll be taking a career leap outside of the parks and tourism industry. It's bittersweet. This has been a meaningful chapter in my life and the foundation of my career. At the same time, I'm filled with excitement for new beginnings. It feels surreal to take on a new adventure as a Project Coordinator in the tech industry with a renewed sense of passion and readiness to learn.
Even as an employee working for the National Parks, this past year, my time spent in nature has dwindled close to none ...with the exception of blog shoots, short walks and occasional brunches on restaurant patios.
I crave it often. All of it; the sense of adventure, the fresh air, the laughs, those rewarding peak views and the relief of walking back down the hike.
Here's my promise. I'll keep nature close and hope these few words of encouragements inspire you to do the same.
Shower yourself in greenery.
Forest Bathing (also known as Shinrin-Yoku) is essentially the practice to visit the forest to slow down for preventive health benefits.
Scientifically proven benefits of forest bathing include reduced blood pressure and stress, increased energy levels and improved mood and sleep.
Those who practice forest bathing consistently are said to be happier people, nurture deeper friendships and better sense of clarity and intuition.
Nature has renewed my perspective and refreshed my soul when it needed it the most.
As I left the office on the day of this shoot, I felt frantic and frazzled, just trying to get from point A to point B. When I arrived to the succulent gardens to meet Nicole, I had some time to sit down and look up. It's been awhile since I unplugged, and though it was only for a few short minutes it was exactly the medicine I needed.
Nothing but the sounds of garden... the rustling leaves and a startling surprise of a tiny hummingbird zipping by my back.
I needed those few minutes more than I realized. Just, to be there, in that very moment.
Those few minutes in the gardens brought me back to what mattered most: a calm state of mind. Those few minutes brought all my focus towards creativity and getting to know Nicole.
Such a pleasant surprise for an unexpected life lesson... a reminder on how important it is to give yourself time to catch up with yourself, which many of us forget from time to time.
As humans in this time, we easily get distracted by loud noise and information overload.
Our minds are being trained to run just as fast as our smartphones. The expectation to react and respond to emails, texts, social media only ups the ante. It becomes harder and harder for us all to disconnect from work. A lot of the times we may be somewhere, but our minds are obviously wandering elsewhere distracted in thought.
Though we can't control this demand, we can empower ourselves through self-care and prevent normalizing this busy state of mind.
Forest Bathing may be what you never knew you needed.
Find a quiet garden or park. Take a stroll. Close your eyes. Open your senses and breathe...