Nemophilist: One who is fond of forest or forest scenery; a haunter of the woods.

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I’ve written before about my love for nature and its unparalleled ability to calm, soothe and rejuvenate. Whether it’s a day spent by the water or an afternoon spent wandering the woods, nothing helps you realign your goals and hit “reset” like Mother Earth. If you have recently felt overwhelmed, anxious or without direction, I’m hoping this post can offer you guidance and get you back on a path towards healing and joy. Since I’ve been drawn more than normal to the forest lately, let’s start there.

There’s something very powerful about being reminded of how small you are as you bob and weave throughout trees so tall they create a canopy, blocking out the sun and immersing you in wildlife. Many forests are home to plant life that began growing hundreds of years before you were born, a welcome reminder of how easy it can be to get so caught up in the craziness of right “now” that we forget it’s fleeting.

Breathing deeply and trekking through even your local park is a surefire way to bring things into focus and give current problems better context. Come the end of your journey, you’re sure to feel more relaxed, at ease and with a better grip of your next move. In the city, I currently live in, Toronto, I've found a nice route within High Park that takes me in and out of a few 'foresty' trails.

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forest2

Another element of nature I love is water and, specifically, large bodies of it. If you’re able, I encourage you to travel to the sea or ocean. Salty air, natural formed cliffs and hardly being able to make out what’s beyond the horizon is an awakening experience. I could spend hours sitting by the water watching it ebb and flow.

If you’ve been having trouble sleeping or city life’s got you down, make sure you take a break but without making it too complicated. My view is if you make it too complicated, you won't prioritize it. Lots of cities have local "beaches" whether they rest on a lake, river or ocean. If you have the time, take a drive to a nearby town or community where water is a bit more accessible. Whatever you do, try to leave some time that is free of planning and "doing" and allow yourself to simply enjoy the sounds of the water and its rehabilitating abilities.

Last but not least, I’d like to talk to you about simply stepping outside and enjoying the bright warmth of the sun. If you live in an area of the world with four seasons, you can go a long time without really being able to enjoy the sun. Then, once summer comes, we sometimes get so wrapped up in vacationing plans and the day-to-day that we forget to get outside and just enjoy the warmth.

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Water1

Now, I’m not suggesting you go and lay out under the sun until you’re red and crispy. Maybe you’ll sit under the shady canopy of a tree. Perhaps you’ll be on a patio. Or, maybe you do want to lounge out with some SPF and soak up the rays. Whatever you do, know that the sun has been an element worshipped by people for centuries. Sometimes, all you need is a 15-minute break to a quiet place out under the sunshine and you’ll feel brand new and ready to take on your day. If you spend a lot of time at work under fluorescent lights and struggle to break away from the grind, you’ll likely find this to be especially true for you. Take a beat, take a breath and allow nature to heal you, friend.

With summer drawing to a close, my mind is already racing to think of all the ways I can continue to enjoy nature once the temperature drops. If you’re a nemophilist and love the forest, or are someone who’s drawn to all types of nature, I’d love to hear how you plan on embracing the cooler months.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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