Pine-Sol and Forest Bathing

Family Bridges

Pine-Sol and Forest Bathing

Contributed by
Dr. Alicia La Hoz

To this day, when I smell Pine-Sol, I am taken back to the warm, welcoming feeling of being home. Coming back home from school to the fresh scent of Pine-Sol would alert me that my mother was busy cleaning that day.  The opened windows and cleanliness radiating from the tidy home made the impression that the house was not only clean but also that I had been purged of the dirt picked up from the day. The cleanliness of our home would somehow spread over me.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on it. This same clean feeling is what I have experienced during the monthly hikes my family and I have had. Our journey this year has been to take monthly hikes to State Parks. We have braved the rigid cold winter air, welcomed the spring breeze and basked in the warmth of summer. Recently, I ran into a video that nailed down the refreshing feeling felt after such hikes. It talked about forest bathing and how it is shown to boost energy, lower stress hormones, lower heart pressure, and reduce symptoms of depression.  Something about taking in the fresh oxygen and the oils emitted by the trees declutters the mind and refreshes the spirit.

With a heavy week full of to-do’s and decisions waiting to be made, the monthly hikes have become an opportunity to declutter my mind and body. Just like my mothers’ cleaning, the forest hikes are an opportunity to cleanse my spirit from the toxins picked up along life’s journey.   My family has learned that we could do more than what we thought we could, grown closer together, and even gotten quite a bit of exercise in. I even discovered how to just let go and have fun on a regular basis, which is important given my tendency to bury myself in my workload. Many goals lose their initial shine after the first month or two. This journey is just starting to reveal how glorious it is. So what are you waiting for? We are just at the midpoint of the year. Go ahead and take on the journey to explore your region’s parks and perserves; you will discover forests, trails and beaches that are within miles of your home and you will be pleasantly surprised at how good the experiences are for your mind, body and spirit.

Follow my journey with #Aliciasjourney and those of my colleagues with #journeys. For blogs, tips and ideas about life and relationships, follow us @familybridges.

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