Body + Wellness

Missing the great outdoors? Pick your mood up with forest therapy


By Wei Yeen Loh

Missing the great outdoors? Pick your mood up with forest therapy

Missing the smell of freshly-cut grass, damp earth in the wee hours of the morning, and even the balmy scent of your garden right before a thunderstorm hits?

Us, too. And for good reason. There are some therapeutic benefits to being in the great outdoors—numerous studies have shown that soaking up some time in nature have positive effects to your mental and physical well-being. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, reconnecting with nature could increase human and planetary health, “and at the same time encourages individuals to act in ways which protect the health of the planet,” says Leanne Martin, researcher at the University of Plymouth.

But during such trying times (a pandemic, in this case), it’ll be hard-pressed for some of us to find a spot of nature to bask in—especially for those who reside in high-density buildings with limited access to a private garden.

And as we all know, the restrictions on movement and travel isn’t making nature therapy accessible for most of us.

But when there’s a will, there’s always a way. Luckily for us, just peering outside your window (if there’s a plant, tree or garden within your periphery) or looking at pictures of nature can easily uplift your mood and improve your health. And it doesn’t just stop there (sensory wise)—research has proven that exposing yourself to sounds and scents of nature serve as temporary yet effective means of boosting your attention as well.

Bring forest therapy to the comfort of your home by immersing your space with scents that evoke a lush forest—think woody, piquant scents and fresh herbal aromas that can lull your senses into a state of calm. Start with a candle or home spray to set the ambience—La Prouveresse by Diptyque will bring to mind fig and cypress trees in the height of autumn (with crunchy leaves in tow); while Aesop’s Cythera Aromatique Room Spray is perfect for evening, with a combination of geranium and incense, wooody patchouli and the warmth of myrrh.

Staying at home doesn’t mean your fragrance bottles will be untouched—dab perfume behind the wrist, ear, and in the insides of the elbow to bring a whiff of a virtual garden with you wherever you go (at home, that is). Santal 33 by Le Labo is our favourite for its gender-neutral yet ultra-smoky scent trail, thanks to cardamom, ambrox, Australian sandalwood and cedarwood; and Jo Malone London’s latest Lavenderland collection is a must-have if your bucket list includes the picturesque lavender fields in Provence, France. There’s no way to soak up the sight and scents in the aromatic purple meadows right now, but we’ll get by with lavender-steeped colognes that come with an English twist.

Your skincare can, too, play a role in an indulgent beauty ritual—look out for skin-healing extracts that come straight from the woods to nourish your skin. Farmacy’s Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm has extracts from the moringa tree to even out skin tone as you cleanse your face; while Shiseido‘s bestselling serum, the Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, is packed with Reishi mushroom and iris root extracts to strength skin barrier.

And if you’re feeling indulgent, Korean beauty brands have got you covered. Sulwhasoo’s Timetreasure Invigorating Cream contains red pine extracts and wild ginseng to give you a youthful countenance; while The History of Whoo’s Hwanyu Imperial Youth Eye Cream is a potent concoction of more than 70 precious natural herb extracts including wild ginseng to rejuvenate the skin around your eye areas.

Before tucking in, roll essential oils onto your pulse points as you seek out your inner zen in the evening. We suggest Remedies to Roll for Meditation by Neal’s Yard Remedies for a 100% natural and organic blend of frankincense, vetiver and sandalwood; and Cypress Essential Oil by iL Puro Natural if you’re inclined to woody evergreen scents.

But we’re not calling it a day just yet—a sleep spray works wonders in drawing your mind to a state of serenity. Slow your senses down with the help of REN’s & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray and Indie Lee’s Pillow Mist.

Forest therapy is the easiest first step you can take to re-investing in your well-being. If your productivity levels aren’t always on up to par on a daily basis, don’t fret too much over it. Being confined at home doesn’t mean that you need to find a million and one things to include in your itinerary. Bring the beauty of nature indoors and let your mind wander in perfect stillness for a change.

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