Celebrating Take a Walk Outdoors Day: Forest Bathing in the Winter

Take a Walk Outdoors Day: Forest bathing in the winter.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Take a Walk Outdoors Day: Forest bathing in the winter. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating Take a Walk Outdoors Day: Forest bathing in the winter.

January 20 is Take a Walk Outdoors Day, a day that celebrates the simple pleasure of spending time in nature and enjoying all of the benefits that come with it. Spending time in nature can improve both your physical and mental health. Walking improves blood flow, can improve your mood, and helps increase concentration and creativity. Even taking a ten-minute walk is super important if you spend most of your day sitting.

Depending on where you are in the world, taking a walk outdoors day will look different. In some places, the weather might be warm enough to walk along the beach, or you might be able to go for a hike. But where I live, in Montreal, Canada, January usually tends to be quite cold and gloomy, so taking a walk outdoors might not be the most motivating thing to do.

But no matter the weather, it is important to take a few minutes of your day today (and every day) to spend some time outdoors, and that’s why I want to focus today on forest bathing in the winter.

Forest bathing in the winter (or, as it is called in Japan, winter shinrin-yoku) is a type of meditation that engages all five senses and aims to create a relaxing atmosphere. It is a natural therapy that involves you slowing down and connecting with the natural world. Like walking outdoors, forest bathing has many health benefits, from decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression. Forest bathing can even increase the activity of natural killer cells, which play an important role in fighting cancer and other diseases. What’s great about forest bathing in the winter is that you can do it anywhere: in your backyard, in a park, or even in a green space in an urban environment.  

Forest bathing in the winter is especially important because we tend to stay indoors more. During this time of year, we’re coming off that holiday and New Year high, and we might find ourselves feeling more stressed than usual. So stepping outside for even a 10-minute walk could help to ease that stress.

Moreover, the winter scenery may differ depending on your location. By forest bathing in the winter, there may be sights, sounds, and maybe even smells that come out during this season, which might help you appreciate the outdoors and nature even more. The winter’s low sun might present some magical details that you might not have noticed before. You might hear the patter of animals who stuck around for the winter. You might decipher a unique smell in the crisp winter air. You may even find yourself enjoying walking in the winter and set out to do more of it! Make sure to dress for the weather so that you can enjoy the experience of forest bathing in the winter to its full capacity.

In addition to simply walking outdoors, there are many other ways you can celebrate today, including:

  • Bring a bag and pick up some trash along the way.
  • Commit to walking and being healthier throughout the year by walking outside several times weekly.
  • Go forest bathing in the winter.
  • Celebrate Take a Walk Outdoors Day.
  • Organize a community event to encourage friends, family, and coworkers to go outside or even raise funds and donations for charity.
  • Grab your headphones and take your conference call outside, or use this time to call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Whether you are walking barefoot through the sand or trudging through the freshly fallen snow, Take a Walk Outdoors Day is a reminder to improve your health and well-being and appreciate what nature has to offer, no matter the time of year or the season.

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