Forest Bathing: "Shinrin-Yoku"
Since moving I've been trying to set up a really solid schedule that balances all the important things in life and keeps me accountable to my art. For me, getting into daily/weekly/monthly habits can take a bit of practice. One thing that I have found to be the most beneficial and enjoyable is to get outside. (Ironically it is also one of the first things to suffer when I get really busy. I guess it's just so enjoyable that it seems frivolous, which is a ridiculous notion-- definitely something I need to unpack there).
Anyway I did really good for a while with waking up very early, doing a little work, and then heading out with my camera and sketchbook for an hour or two. It was such a restorative practice. I came home feeling energized and excited, and I got so much work done when I got home.
One day I was looking through instagram stories and a sponsored ad from L.L. Bean showed up. It was for an article about "Shinrin-Yoku," which means "forest bathing in Japanese. It discussed the benefits of immersing yourself in nature, and went right along with what I was discovering about my daily "art walks." I'd highly recommend the article, as well as practicing "forest bathing." The L.L. Bean article says, "A study in the journal Psychological Science, for example, found that just an hour spent walking in nature improved attention span and memory by 20%." That's pretty impressive... and only one of the benefits the article cites.
The fact of the matter is our bodies developed to live and move in our natural world. When we take that element away from our lives our bodies and minds suffer. Try it for yourself: go out for an hour and just sit, or meander. Listen to the sounds, notice the colors and textures. Find beauty, and joy. If it is warm, let the sun warm your skin or the breeze stoke your face. Don't mess with your phone or other technology. Turn your phone on do not disturb. If you feel like you need something to do with your hands take a sketch book and practice sketching what you see. If you take a camera, make sure to maintain your focus on the experience of nature, not the act of taking photos. Let me know how it goes!
A few photos from some of my walks in Yosemite.
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