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Forest Bathing reduces anxiety and depression

Happy Vernal Equinox!

I’m renting a house that has a lot of tree covering, so I didn’t plant any veggies last year. My yard has looked boring and depressing for a solid year because I let my anxiety dictate how I perceived my home. Despite the fact that I’m renting, this house is my temporary home, I should have been viewing it that way from the beginning. This year, on Imbolc, I started to really meditate on the seeds begging to sprout under the ground, and the fact that Spring was on it’s way. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I would be much happier beautifying this space than I would waiting for an eventual time where I bought a house. It took me awhile to get out of this mindset because going through a divorce was a powerful way of convincing me that since nothing lasts forever, commitment wasn’t worth it. What a negative mindset!

 I don’t have a lot of sunlight in my yard, but I have a fantastic porch with full sunlight. So, I’ve planted flowers and veggies in planters and filled my benches with life. We added a picnic table and a fire pit to my barren yard and I’ve been buying little statues like this Mother Earth and prayer flags and lights. Since starting this process, we’ve spent every single say outside. We’ve even added a bit of kitchen witch magic and planted things under the full moon. We’ve been more confident to invite friends over, and my formerly boring backyard has become a haven for life and community.

A few years ago, I read study that showed that people who spent more time in nature were less likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety and depression. In Japan, this is known as “forest bathing” which is a type of eco therapy that most of us are lacking. The point of it is to sit and relax, while being surrounded by nature.

Because this is all a learning process, I wasn’t expecting how much it would change my mood. I’ve felt more relaxed and comfortable in my home and even in my own skin. The weather has been beautiful, and I know that surrounding myself with nature’s beauty, even if its more of an urban garden (due to the porch space being the only sunlit area) it has changed everyone in this house for the better.

I’m so grateful that Mother Earth has given us all the tools we need to thrive.