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What the hell is forest bathing?

Obviously (gestures widely around the website), I’m a fan of nature and all that planty mountainy good stuff. So I was quite surprised when I recently came across the term “forest bathing” and had no idea what the hell people were talking about.

What the hell is forest bathing?

The first image that came to mind was me lying in a bathtub in the middle of a forest. That. would. be. awesome.
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So what’s the deal with trail running?

So what's the deal with trail running?

I’ve recently picked up running again. The stress is on “again” because I dig out my running shoes about once every year,  start running for a few weeks, feel my endurance getting better. Then my knee starts hurting, I stop, and the shoes go back in the closet. Rinse and repeat.

To be honest, living in a city, running along roads full of traffic, breathing car fumes… it’s a bit of a turn-off. Recently I came across trail running. Like running, on hiking trails? I got curious. I love hiking and being out in nature, so maybe this was the trick that would keep me running for longer than 2 weeks? That would actually maybe even make me enjoy running?

Images of trail runners look like the sport is only for the ultra-hard though. For those guys that are bored running marathons, so they run up a mountain instead. While I’m a frequent running newb, I’m still a newb, as in running 5k is kind of a big deal. Decidedly, non-ultra.

Is trail running something I can even attempt? And how do I go about it? I embarked on a little research asking myself all the stupid questions I had and trying to find some answers.

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How to let the trees reduce your stress

Stress is the plague of the modern age. Everybody is struggling with it and most people don’t really know how to deal with it. We run around, constantly busy, working on getting ahead in life. We’re trying to meet obligations, expectations and to stay on top of our to-do list. We’re constantly checking our phones for notifications while juggling work and private life. Get that presentation done in time. Take the garbage out before it smells. Make sure the laundry is clean before you run out of underwear. Pay that bill. Call that client. Oh, and don’t forget to get fit and healthy.

It’s EXHAUSTING!

No wonder we’re all going down the rabbit hole. So what do we do? We deal with it in whatever way makes us feel, well, less stressed. For some that means having a few beers every night to wind down, others meditate, some embrace the stress and convince themselves that that’s what a successful person’s life should be like.

I have had periods where I would come home after an 11h workday, lie on my bed and listen to ocean sounds for 2 hours before I was able to sleep. Good times!

Fortunately, there’s an increasing amount of research that is looking to understand the effects of stress on the brain, and what we can do to reduce it.

We already know the big items on the list, like getting more active, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and meditating. We also know that caffeine, drinking, and smoking might seem like they’re helping but are actually stressing your body out even more. But what else is there?

How to let the trees reduce your stress

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