If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the importance of looking after our wellbeing, and more and more people are finding ways to introduce self-care into their everyday lives.

Enter, ‘forest bathing’! Originating in Japan, the activity is as simple as immersing yourself in a peaceful woodland setting and letting the wellness wash over you. Known as shinrin-yoku, the practice began in the 1980s, and studies later showed that woodland wanders could increase mental wellbeing and lower blood pressure.

Forest bathing has since made its way over to UK shores, bringing with it an opportunity to slow down, unwind and appreciate the beauty of nature, away from phones, tablets and our ‘always-on’ existence. Supporters include the Woodland Trust and RSPB, which are both encouraging schemes that allow people to reconnect with nature and recognise the importance of our wonderful woodlands.

Our resorts are perfectly placed for a spot of forest bathing, with tranquil woodland settings just a short distance away. If you are keen to explore the benefits for yourself, here are a few pointers for a perfect shinrin-yoku experience…

Forget the phone

You may be tempted to take photos and share your experience with your Instagram followers, but forest bathing is all about truly switching off and letting only the forest environment stimulate your senses. As such, you will need to keep your phone turned off and in your pocket to really feel the benefits. 

Slow it down

Forest bathing is all about slowing down, so be sure to take your time as you walk. Many practitioners stop and sit under a favourite tree, soaking in the forest ambience and allowing the benefits to slowly take effect.

Plot your own path

If it’s safe to do so, go with the flow and let your body find its own way through the forest rather than following a map or plotting a path in advance. You’re not trying to get from A to B, but immersing yourself in the moment, so follow your instincts to unlock the full health benefits of forest bathing.

Use your senses

Forest bathing is all about exposing your senses to the woodland setting, so try to integrate all of them rather than just appreciating the visual beauty of your surroundings. Touch leaves and bark, listen to the sound of birdsong, enjoy the fresh scent of pine needles and much more. When all of your senses are exposed and engaged, you will soon feel the spirit-lifting benefits of forest bathing.

Make your own rules

The most important rule of forest bathing is really that there are no rules! You need to find your own way to health and happiness, so enjoy your time in the woods however you want. Stay for up to an hour or more, travel as far as you need to, and find the perfect forest setting that will help you relax and unwind – the benefits are yours, so no one is better suited to find them.