Being able to slot in time in nature is great because it makes us feel good. If you want to understand the influence of nature on our happiness, look no further than forest bathing, a Japanese practice where people focus on being present in nature, with the belief that it helps them discover new perspectives and insights.
“The concept of spending time in nature to boost our mental and emotional wellbeing is definitely on the rise,” says Yap Youmin of Xiu Nature Connections. She guides participants through practices in the Botanic Gardens and the Japanese Garden, and has noticed an increase in participation from individuals, as well as companies looking to conduct team-building exercises or executive retreats.
According to Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, when you spend time in nature, your brain puts out more alpha waves, making you feel calm and relaxed. “The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate emotional affiliation with other organisms,” explains Youmin. “By going into nature, we are actually returning home and home is somewhere that’s very comfortable and happy.”
Living in the city, we’re constantly faced with so many choices - from emails to Instagram Stories. It is a lot of information to deal with. Being in nature helps us relax simply by giving us less choice - fewer things to focus on. “Simply spending time in nature gives a much needed time out for our overstressed brains,” she says.
We speak with 5 female entrepreneurs to find out how they consciously spend time in nature:
1. Take meetings outdoors
We are one connected world. August has been fruitful and I am thankful. Speaking and guiding at the International Forest Therapy Days in Finland has been exciting, humbling and invigorating. Next up, I am looking forward to share this important work of nature connections and forest therapy at the Therapeutic Horticulture seminar by CUGE, Singapore National Parks Board and at Forest Bathing Day @ SG 2018 on 8 Sep. www.xiunatureconnections.com Partnering with nature for health. #foresttherapy #forestbathingsg #shinrinyokusg #naturehealth #mindfulness #mindfulinnature #wellness
Youmin’s work already brings her out to nature but beyond that, she tries to have “garden meetings” instead of making appointments at shopping malls. “Even if I’m in a cafe, I choose to sit outside or face the greenery,” she says. Thankfully, it’s easy to have nature in our line of vision because we have so many plants and trees dotted across Singapore.
2. Catch a breather and recharge in nature
This weekend we, @gitnbasia, were the Green Partner for @gardenbeatsfestival. It was really cool to come up with the first few #littlegreensteps for party people to take, and while there is still a long way to go, they are steps in the right direction. On mah face is some plant based glitter - yup that is some biodegradable sparkle. Around my neck some upcycled sheets by @triupcycle. And in my ears ethically made earrings by @justgayas ✌ #livemoreconsciously #greenisthenewblack #gardenbeats #upcycle #glitter #biodegradable #plantbased #ethicalfashion #sustainability
Photo: stephldickson/ Instagram
“Having a Type A personality and running a company can be very intense and high pressured - largely due to my own expectations,” says Stephanie Dickson, founder of Green is the New Black, who describes herself as a perfectionist.
“One of the things that relaxes me the most and keeps me grounded is being with nature. I feel more present, I breathe better, I can calm my mind and body. Things that seemed like a big deal melt away, which helps to “fill my cup back up”.”
Her favourite nature escape? Bukit Timah Reservoir. That’s because it’s one of the few places where you’re completely surrounded by nature, don’t see any buildings, and can work up a sweat if you want to.
3. Prepare for major work tasks by stepping out of the office
“If I have a major presentation coming up, I give myself time away from the office to decompress in an environment that’s more relaxing,” says Esther Khong, co-founder of Date Out.
“For instance, I’d take time off to go to Sentosa - find a cafe that faces the beach and ocean, or the marines, and just plan whatever I need to plan in a relaxing space.”
4. Be mindful amidst greenery
“Nature resets and invigorates me from within. I am constantly amazed by the strength of the mountains, the wonders of the forest and the tranquility of the ocean. It teaches me how small I am in the midst of these wonders and I am lucky to have what I am doing,” says Cynthia Chua, founder of Spa Esprit Group.
With this degree of appreciation, it’s no wonder that the beauty, F&B, and lifestyle empire she helms incorporates pockets of greenery in its spaces. Think: Open Farm Community, which is shrouded in greenery and houses Tiong Bahru Bakery in its compound. Slated for a mid-year opening is Noka, which will take up the whole rooftop of Funan Mall, complete with an urban garden.
5. Set aside time to take walks
3 hour trek. Getting the poison out. Resetting the sleep routine. Nature and solitude and perspective. Energised and motivated to crush this week. Sweating everything out. And an iced tea afterward. Bliss. #founder #startups #startup #zen #sweat #workout #sunday #weekend #sun #summer #beach #beachbody #femaleentrepreneur #ladyboss #womeninbusiness #founders #startuplife #beast #queen #sentosa #tanjongbeachclub #trek #sunkissed #fitspo #fitspiration #balance #abundance
“I go deep into the gardens and parks and up and down the curves of our little Mount Faber often,” says Krystal Choo, founder of Tickle, who makes it a point to walk by the water every morning.
“The mornings are precious in their silence, with only leaves and birdsong. They give the mind space to breathe and expand before the insanity of the day.” Especially helpful when anxiety is just around the corner.
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