Sun vs. Forest Bathing

Hermoza’s commitment to swim and resort wear started with an interest in meeting women where they are and enabling them to feel confident and beautiful in the skin they are in. It never occurred to us how easily those tenets transferred into showing women the ease with which their Hermoza pieces could transition to the office, to every day, and to evening wear. The fabrics, prints, and colors in our collections are versatile and dynamic and are suitable for every occasion.

 

However, while envisioning Hermoza everywhere for all occasions, I was not ready for the concept of “forest bathing.” It sounded New Age-y and not my thing. To each her own, to be sure, but I just didn’t think I would get it, let alone be interested in learning more about it. Cue the email from my health insurance company. When I get an email that is medical in nature, I read every word. I am in good health and I’d like to keep it that way. So, when my doctor messages reminding me about my annual flu shot or women’s health visit, I get on it.

 

The subject line in said email mentions “forest bathing, limiting screen time, and more.” I was intrigued. What was “more?” Turns out, it’s pets, golden milk oats, and supplements that “boost your brainpower.” Now, in that list of delights, “forest bathing” was the outlier. It was a push and pull – I equal parts had no interest in what I thought was dancing with abandon in some expanse of trees, but then, I also wanted confirmation that the entire thing was as ridiculous as it sounded (on first read).

 

 

And then I found myself in South Lake Tahoe at a conference. One of the presenters mentioned that forest bathing is an excellent tool for self-care and mental wellness. This was the second time in 24 hours I heard this term, so I took it as a sign that I should pay closer attention. Forest bathing is a practice that envelopes and absorbs you in nature, rather than submersing you in any kind of water or harmful rays. The intention of the practice is to limit your distractions in order to be fully present in the sights and sounds of the trees of any landscape.

 

The article from the email I received goes on the mention that forest bathing shows a positive impact on lower blood pressure, heart rates, and harmful hormones connected to stress. This practice is actually supported by field experiments and research, making it harder to ignore or brush off as hokey.

 

And let me tell you – it works! The feelings I experienced while standing on the trail, closing my eyes, breathing deeply, and listening was so akin to the restful calm I experience while sunbathing on the beach or laying out by the pool. I felt fully present, relaxed, and excited. I wasn’t focused on deadlines, presentations, or any commitments other than existing in this space for this moment. It was glorious!

 

My phone was on silent, and while I took pictures, I refrained from answering emails, replying to text messages, or checking social media just so I could take it all in. This was such a relief from my typical conference behavior. I do usually enjoy the peace and quiet, but from the isolation of my hotel room. While peace and quiet is a start, nothing prepared me for the overwhelming sense of tranquility I experienced after seeing the sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees or the sound of the wind rustling the branches on the tree trunks above me.

 

 

I walked from the conference site to the lake along a paved path. It was a low intensity walk that took roughly around an hour and a half round-trip. I walked leisurely and without agenda and it was amazing! I took it all in, observing how things existed together. I people watched. I said “hello” and “how are you” to complete strangers. I made eye contact and smiled with other “forest bathers”. It felt luxurious.

 

What is it about the practice that initially turned me off to the idea? Why was I so judgmental about something that could bring me such calm? Why is it socially acceptable to lay for hours under the sun, but not so much to walk peacefully in a heavily wooded area? In fact, after I finish getting a tan in my swimsuit, I am super relaxed, but also ready for a nap. After forest bathing, I was energized and, well…nicer.

 

Not that I had a bad attitude beforehand, I just felt joyful and appreciative of the space around me – and that included with my fellow conference participants. I had conversations, made connections, and laughed! Again, it was phenomenal to feel comfortable and confident at my core.

 

I could physically feel rested and rejuvenated. I encourage you to make a quick online search for forest bathing. The topic is connected to a plethora of fabulous resources to help you create a practice of your own that will inevitably lead to a profound sense of gratitude and presence.

 

 

And then, I was inspired! The gorgeous landscape reminded me of the exclusive graphic and floral prints and hues of the vibrant colors in our collections. It made me realize the divine motivation that exists in being outdoors. I can’t wait to start designing and creating more for Hermoza, and all this came from taking time away to be more grounded.

 

So, Hermoza, what do you think? How do you feel about being open-minded enough to try something new? Especially when it has such a high impact, methods for self-care like forest bathing, journaling, meditating, coloring, doing a puzzle, or playing with your kids (really!) are all relatively low-cost with minimal risk involved. All these activities share the same effects as well, so take your pick. What did you try? What senses did you use? How did it make you feel afterward? Connect with us and other bold, present women using #hermozaswim and #beautywellsuited.

 

Besos, Marisa and Tiffany 

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