This last seasons DEEP Challenge.
DEEP immerses you into the quiet of the West Coast forests!
Some people call it ‘Forest bathing’, some people call it ‘Going for a walk’ – either way, when we emerge ourselves in the natural environment, we gain health. Physical activity in the form of a walk in nature is associated with improved moods and feelings of health and robustness. A silent walk on an old-growth ridge, in the forest nearby will lower stress levels, connect to nature and boosts immune functions. Any other natural place will do the same!
Natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees, known as phytoncide, and also known as the ‘aroma of the forest’, are especially correlated with the enhancement of our frontline immune defenders and will strengthen overall immune functions. This so-called ‘Forest Cure’ originated centuries ago and combines new science with ancient traditions.
Another benefit of forest bathing/cure is the improvement of mental performances and creativity, through immersing in the natural environment.
After many weeks of reorganizing your daily lives, going back to school, and now starting the summer break, we would like to take you on a silent walk through our beautiful forest ecosystems.
First choose an area to walk. Make sure you are not bringing your phone, or a camera, bring just yourself! Let your body be your guide – walk slow, wander aimlessly while letting nature surround your whole body. Dr. Qing Li, an expert in forest medicine, is mentioning to let nature in you through your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet – listen to the birds chirping, the ocean raging on the shore, and the wind blowing in treetops. Look at the clouds making different formations and the trees changing colours from bright green to dark. Taste the salt on your tongue and smell the Yuerba-buena by rubbing it with your fingers. Embrace the effects on you! Let your hands glide over the grasses and dip your feet into cold water of a stream, or the ocean. Have a break from wandering around and lay down on the soft and bumpy forest floor. You will already feel a calm sensation of your soul, a deep inner happiness. You have connected to nature & as Dr. Qing Li says “you have crossed the bridge to happiness”.
To be nurtured in nature, you can bring a snack and make yourself comfortable in a spot of your choice. Enjoy the break and the quiet around you.
After your break do a deep breathing exercise. It will help to set the body in a rest & digest mode – more oxygen can get into the bloodstream, opening up the capillaries. This is lowering the output of your stress hormone cortisol, which is so important to start good into the summer break lots of exams!
Your breathing exercise can be focused on a plant, waves, bending trees, or any other objects you feel to concentrate on. To focus, you can help yourself by asking these questions:
- What do I see? Notice colors, shapes and movement.
- What do I feel? What parts of your object are smooth, bumpy or prickly?
- How do you feel in this space? Calm, peaceful, curious, energized, happy, sad?
For example, concentrate on a wave, breath in when the wave comes in and breathe out when the wave goes back. Breath out a little longer than you breath in and you will recognize a slow change in your bodies activity level. Do this exercise for about 10 to 15 minutes.
This breathing exercises can be done anywhere – don’t be shy to sit down wherever you like!
After some forest bathing, are you ready for your summer break 2020? Then have a look at our DIY Bees Wax:
BEES WAX MAKING:
- Ingredients: Beeswax, jojoba oil, tree sap (you can find it on Douglas fir’s in your forest nearby)
- Equipment: 100 % cotton fabric, tin can, brushes, waxed table cloth, iron, wax paper
- How to make Beeswax Wraps:
- Cut cotton fabric into the size of your choice, make sure a sandwich will fit in
- Cut two wax paper a bit bigger than the cut fabric sizes
- Prepare table with waxed table cloth to protect the table top
- Lay one fabric piece together with two sheets of wax paper
- Melt the beeswax in the tin can with an adult on your side (be sure that tin fits on stove top) and add jojoba oil and tree sap
- If you have used your brushes before, make sure they melt first within the beeswax
- Dip your brush into the beeswax and distribute evenly over the cotton fabric on one side (Beeswax is a natural resource we should preserve – so don’t use too much), make sure one wax paper is under the fabric
- After brushing, put the other layer of wax paper on top and iron the cotton fabric with the wax paper sheet until the beeswax is fully distributed.
- Let cool down for a few minutes & check if the beeswax is fully submerged into the cotton fabric. If there is a spot without beeswax, take the brush, add more beeswax, and iron it again.
Now you should have a wonderful environmental friendly Sandwich wrap for a snack when you do some forest bathing, and when the school starts in September!
Send us a photo of your beeswax wraps via firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it on facebook, or instagram & tag GalianoConservancy!