Forest bathing for staff wellbeing

19 August 2021

Taking a walk through the bush, listening to the surrounding sounds, maybe a buzzing bee or a trickling creek, going on an adventure to nowhere in particular, or watching the sunset from a rocky outcrop, are wonderful ways of unwinding both mentally and physically. 

During our current lockdown, “switching off” and being present can be especially difficult. So, finding a moment to reconnect with the world around us and taking the time to listen, breath and experience is more important than ever. Connection with the natural world increases our general wellbeing and by slowing down, we are able to have a nourishing break from the stress and challenges we are currently facing. 

Forest bathing is a practice that calms the nervous system and reminds us to be present in our lives. And the great thing is, it can be done anywhere, inside your home, in your garden, in a park or in the bush. It is a research-based framework for supporting wellness and healing through immersion in natural environments. The movement is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to “forest bathing”.

Outdoor Education Coordinator, Kirsten Gardiner (KG), recently led staff in a beautiful forest bathing session as part of our School's teacher wellbeing program. She guided us through a session of exploration, awakening our curiosity, engaging the senses, all the while accompanied by a chorus of cockatoos. We finished our hour-and-a-half “walk” with a tea ceremony, where we thanked the Earth for all that she offers us. Teachers were all in agreement that over that period of time we spent with KG, our ‘busy’ thoughts slowed down and we were able to feel a calm connectedness with the space around us. 

Thank you, KG for a wonderfully recuperating experience. I cannot recommend your session highly enough! 

Elena Rowan, Year 7 Teacher