Feeling stressed? Head to the bush!

Feeling stressed? Head to the bush!

Heading into the silly season it's pretty easy to lose ourselves, and our minds! With long to-do lists, functions you don't really want to attend and that weird family member who's always difficult to buy for, and sit next to at Christmas lunch!

Do yourself a favour and head into the bush. It's good for your body and a great escape and refresh for your mind and spirit. Put on your Squaties, grab your water and let's take a look at the cool benefits of bushwalking.

Bushwalking, it's like a feast for your body, mind, and soul.

Body: You'll be getting your heart rate up, working your muscles, and burning calories without even realizing it. Plus, being out in nature has been shown to boost your immune system, improve your sleep, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It's like a natural wonder drug, but without the side effects! 

Mind: Bushwalking has been proven to have numerous mental health benefits. It has been proven to lower cortisol levels (the hormone responsible for stress), reduce anxiety, and depression, and improve overall mental well-being. The combination of physical activity, fresh air, and natural surroundings releases endorphins, also known as the "feel-good" hormones, which boost your mood and leave you feeling happier and more content. 

Soul: When you're in the bush, you're not just exercising your body; you're nourishing your soul. The connection with nature, the sense of freedom, and the feeling of being part of something greater than yourself all contribute to a calming experience. It's a chance to reflect, find inner quiet, and take a moment to think about yourself and the world around you.

Cool fact....!  The essential oils released by trees, known as phytoncides, have been shown to enhance the activity of natural killer cells in the body. These cells play a vital role in fighting off infections and diseases.

Ever heard of Japanese Forest Bathing?

In Japan they have a pretty cool term for bushwalking "Forest Bathing" or Shinrin-yoku.  It is the practice of immersing yourself in the healing atmosphere of a forest. It involves walking (at a more leisurely pace) through forests or bush areas, allowing your senses to fully engage with the environment. The focus is on being present in the moment and connecting with the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest. Sounds pretty relaxing huh?

 

Tips before you head out

Disconnect from tech - Take a break from technology, emails, and messages! Leave your phone at home so you can fully immerse yourself in the quiet of nature. 

Engage your senses -  As you walk through the bush, take the time to notice the small things. The sights, sounds and smells around you. Listen to the bird calls, feel the texture of the tree bark and breathe in deeply. 

Be present - Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment. Let go of any worries of the day. Engage in what is around you.

Find a great walking track: We are pretty lucky here in NZ to have so many great walking tracks on our doorsteps. Check out the doc page link below for walks in your area. Or just head to your local park or nature reserve.

New Zealand Walking and Tramping Map

Conclusion 

Bushwalking is not just a workout; it's a mind and soul makeover. So, when life gets too much, especially at this time of year, take to the bush and let nature do its thing. Your body, mind and soul will love you for it🧡 

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