Forest bathing in winter and the best mindfulness exercises

snowy mountain peaks in the background snowy forest in the foreground

Forest bathing means to draw from the power of the forest and to feel nature with all senses. It is scientifically proven that the forest has a healing effect on soul and body. Read here why this natural healing method has been proven to be so healthy and beneficial and how forest bathing works in winter.

  1. Forest bathing through the seasons
  2. The beauty of the coniferous forest
  3. Here's what you should look out for when forest bathing in autumn and winter
  4. Mindfulness exercises for your forest bathing

Forest bathing through the seasons

But what if the trees start to lose their leaves in autumn, the days get shorter and the winds get cooler?? Is forest bathing in autumn and even winter possible at all?
The answer is clearly yes! Because forest bathing is all about being aware of nature. If you engage with it with all your senses, you will quickly realize how much beauty even a winter forest holds. You will notice more and more details, such as the play of the sun on the tree trunks, green mossy rocks and scattered bird calls in the distance.

The beauty of the coniferous forest

With the onset of autumn, deciduous forests not only lose their leaves, but also the health-promoting terpenes, because the trees reduce their activity to a minimum. You are hibernating, so to speak. However, especially the terpenes are responsible for the healing, restorative powers of the forest.

Here lies the advantage of coniferous forests: They are active all year round and thus rich in terpenes even in autumn and winter. Besides, the coniferous forest in winter is of incomparable beauty. Dense firs and spruces, the Christmas scent of deep green branches and, with a bit of luck, glistening snow settling on their tops – in this place you feel like you've fallen into a fairy tale.
Still, there are a few things to keep in mind during the colder seasons to make your forest bathing experience an enriching one.

Here's what you should look out for when forest bathing in autumn and winter

As impressive as nature is even in colder temperatures, you should prepare well for your forest bathing. Make sure you wear the right clothing. Sturdy shoes, thick socks and gloves are a must. Especially well suited for your soothing forest bath is the Zwiebellook. This way you can take off a few layers depending on how you feel, but you will be prepared for the cold in any case. A wind- and rainproof jacket is also practical in case the weather should be unstable.
In order for your body to benefit exclusively from the excursion into nature, you should not stay outside for too long. A maximum of two hours in nature is the perfect amount of time to recharge your batteries and strengthen your immune system.
You can also bring a picnic blanket in case you want to linger a bit on the forest floor or a log. Additional warmers like a thermos flask with freshly made tea or a pocket warmer provide cozy comfort.

Mindfulness exercises for your forest bath

To get the most out of your forest swim year-round, there are a few beneficial mindfulness practices you can use. They will help you sharpen your senses, become more aware of your surroundings and feel even more connected to nature.

Exercise 1: Change of perspective

Find a nice place in the forest. Sit down and come to rest by taking a few deep breaths. Now turn your attention to the big picture. Look at the trees in the distance, the treetops on the horizon, the forest in its full splendor. After at least five minutes, it's time for the change of perspective. Find a small area in your immediate vicinity. This can be, for example, an insect, a stone or bark. Now let yourself go into this little micro-world. What patterns do you recognize? Which texture and which movements do you perceive?? You can use a magnifying glass to assist you here.
The exercise will help you keep your mind flexible, perceive the forest from its entirety to its smallest detail, and especially sharpen your sense of sight.

Exercise 2: Through all the senses

Also for this exercise, first find a nice place, such as a tree stump. Sit down and breathe in and out deeply three times. After that, it's time to attend to all your senses. Focus on each sense in turn, one at a time. For example, start with the sense of hearing. What can you hear? What tones and sounds do you perceive? Then let's move on in order: what do you smell? What do you see? What do you feel when you scan your surroundings?
Through this exercise, you will immerse yourself in the forest with all your senses and strengthen your soul and body with its beneficial powers.

By the way, the most beautiful winter forests are waiting for you in the mountain landscapes of Austria. The incomparable mix of clearing mountain air and dense winter forests does wonders for the body and mind. Find in our Austrian hotels like the Furstenhaus am Achensee, the Ifen Hotel Kleinwalsertal or the Bergresort Werfenweng the perfect starting points for your nature-loving vacation and a few days of forest bathing in winter.

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