• Heather Holcombe

How Forest Bathing improves my interior design work.





I didn't know this at the time, but I spent the pandemic practicing something the Japanese call shinrin-yoku - or Forest Bathing, as it's also known. I wasn't taking baths in the forest, although that sounds nice. Instead, I relished the sounds of wind swishing across leaves and birds chirping, the scent and colors of the woods, and the sense of calm during my walks in a nearby forest. But what does that have to do with interior design?

Going for my forest walks helped me cope with the stress of the pandemic, which included my children learning virtually from home while I ran my business and my husband did Zoom meetings in another room. But Forest Bathing did more than help me cope. It also inspired me (and still does) as an interior designer.

Benefits

It was this short blurb in Raleigh Magazine that made me realize that I was Forest Bathing. According to that article and others I read, Forest Bathing can reduce stress, boost focus, and increase anti-cancer proteins. As someone who regularly experiences forest walks, I understand how beneficial they might be.

Look at the pictures from my walks. Imagine yourself before a hectic day or at the end of a stressful one walking in a forest.

If you think it might induce a sense of calm, you're right. But it also helps me regenerate.

Inspiring

Nature inspires. (Just look at how many famous paintings there are throughout human history of landscapes.) But, while my walks inspire me to take a deep breath and enjoy and appreciate my life, they do even more than that. The walks also remind me how much we can learn from our surroundings when designing and decorating our spaces. Nature's bounty shows me how its different colors coordinate and work well alongside each other - or, in some cases, clash. Whether it's lime green leaves, the brown-grey turkey that crossed my path, or a camel-colored deer watching me, there's so much to see. You just have to look.