It’s that time of the year where nature makes every tough life lesson seem beautiful. A couple of them are the acceptance of major changes, moving away from the comfort zone you’ve gotten used to and growing in a new environment. I love watching the leaves do their thing of slipping from one side of the colour wheel to the other. This subtle yet dramatic change teaches me how acceptable and beautiful change can be without any despair or drama. Therefore, how can I think of change as being disquieting when I find solace in seeing the fiery tones of Autumn that once used to be green.
Autumn gives me a great sense of renewal, and it all begins with the trees. Though in opposites we work. While I add an extra layer or two to protect myself from the brisk chills, the trees shed their leaves. Doing this helps the trees conserve water and energy, they reabsorb nutrients from the leaves (before they fall) and store them in their roots. Fighting the chilly winds, I will take however much time needed to be surrounded by nature and soak up the energy radiated from trees.
The phrase “I need to get out more” shouldn’t be taken so lightly by me or anyone. I can’t stress how important nature walks are. I appreciate them so much more post lockdown. I wish I could say I enjoy my short strolls in the woods but as a Londoner, I don’t live that close to any forest, apart from Epping but that’s still a train plus bus or cab journey away. However, I’m lucky to live next to marshes, a canal and the Olympic Park. Where I get to enjoy a patch of nature in all three locations.
Trees provide breathable air and overall good well-being emotionally and physically. Research has found that spending as little as three minutes surrounded by greenery reduces stress levels and blood pressure. Simply put, nature is excellent for our mental health. Therefore, I always seek some precious quiet time with mother nature to help me feel mindfully grounded and to reconnect myself with earthly roots. Whether I’m walking along a path or sitting under a canopy of trees I pay attention to each of my soothing senses. I feel my breathing deepen as I take in what I call organic fresh air, my eyes continuously lookout for uncountable colours, my ears listen to the rustling of trees blowing in the wind and singing birds and my mind quietens for the peaceful rhythm of nature. Here my healing process begins.
Hailing all the way from Japan, there is a practice called shinrin-yoku, which translates as forest bathing. The term was first coined in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise to offer an eco-antidote for those burned out by everyday stress. Ever since I heard about this form of ecotherapy I made it a part of my weekly self-care routine. The best therapy (talk it out with friends) sessions I’ve ever had, has always been on long walks in nature. They’ve simply helped clear my mind whilst breathing in fresh oxygen that’s emanated from leaves.