Guest blog by Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CLC, Cert. AT, Level One.
Trying to conceive can be one of the most emotionally taxing experiences you will ever go through. It’s filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. There are moments of all-consuming hope, as well as periods of crushing doubt. No matter how long you’ve been trying, 5 months or 5 years, the emotional rollercoaster can be stressful.
Fortunately, a remedy for the inevitable lies right outside your door. Nature offers us one of the most potent and cost-effective (it’s free!) de-stressors around. Meet Shinrin-yoku.
In Japan, Shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing, is a widely researched and practiced way to build resilience to the negative effects of stress. Don’t worry, despite what its name suggests, you’re not required to skinny dip in the wild. Simply spend time in nature. It’s as easy as that.
Benefits of Shinrin-yoku
Taking a stroll among the trees, mindfully taking in the lovely sights, enticing aromas, and soothing sounds of the great outdoors have been shown to:
- reduce feelings of anxiety
- improve mood
- lower cortisol levels
- increase blood sugar balance
- enhance feelings of vitality
The best way to practice Shinrin-yoku is to spend unhurried time surrounded by trees. But don’t worry about it if you can’t make it to a forest. You can always bring a bit of the forest to you and reap many of the same benefits.
Bringing the Forest to You
Here are 7 simple ways you can get a bit more nature into your day:
- Take a walk during a work break or after dinner. Focus on taking deep breaths while noticing the sights, sounds, and smells.
- Decorate your home and office with plants. Occasionally touch and take a look at your plants throughout the day.
- Watch nature videos online or TV.
- Listen to nature sounds music during your commute or while reading a book.
- Take the scenic route whenever possible, even it’s not the quickest way to get where you’re going.
- Sign up for an outdoor yoga or fitness class. You’ll get the benefits of being outdoors while getting in your workout, too.
- Choose an image of an outdoor scenery as your desktop background and screensaver.
Self-care can be a powerful part of your journey to pregnancy. Incorporate elements of the outdoors or time outdoors to show your mind, body, and spirit some love while you’re trying to conceive.
Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CLC, Cert. AT, Level One is a women’s health dietitian and aromatherapist specializing in preconception and fertility nutrition. You can chat with Kendra and learn more about her services at Live Fertile.
Reference: Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. (n.d.). The Science. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/the-science.html