There are no prizes for running on empty

The Japanese have a concept called “forest bathing”.  If this gives you an image of someone in a bathtub among the trees, let me define it more clearly.  Forest bathing means spending time in nature, absorbing the calm and peace of the trees and natural surroundings.  The key to forest bathing is that you don’t need to DO anything other than absorb your surroundings.  If you add some yoga or walking, or photography, or journaling, that’s ok, but there’s no requirement to do anything more than just be.

I’ve been going for early morning walks this past week, leaving the house around 7 am.  It seems so easy to get outside early when the sun is shining, and all I need is sneakers and a light jacket.  I walk the same streets around my neighbourhood and out to the river, and often stop for a coffee.  I find these early morning walks to be the height of luxury.  So many front yards are full of flowers, the trees are green, the river is full and fast.  The air smells good.  I feel like I’m treating myself to these walks. 

Although I wouldn’t call it forest bathing, for me, being outside is an act of self-care, and a way to renew my energy.

It’s important to take the time to soak in the energy of the summer.  Renew yourself.  Absorb the sun (safely, of course).  Give yourself permission to just be.  Don’t let these days and months pass you by – be present.  When you have a few minutes outside, stop and be mindful.  Use your five senses to absorb what’s around you.  Even if you do that on your lunch break at work, it can make a huge difference to your whole afternoon.  Take a little time mid-day and set your intentions for the afternoon.  Who do you want to be?  What do you want to do?  What’s an easier way to get there?

Figure out what gives you energy, and add it to your life on the regular.  It might be time alone with a good book, or spending time with friends.  It might be forest bathing, or bathing in a soaker tub with bubbles.  Whatever it is, make time for it so your internal battery doesn’t run out.  There are no prizes for the person who runs on empty the longest.  Your personal energy is renewable, but only if you give yourself the chance to recharge.