For the Japanese culture, Shinrin-yoku, walking or staying in forests in order to promote health, is a major form of relaxation.
Studies have shown that practicing Shinrin-yoku can ease feelings of hostility or depression, and may even help decrease the risk of psychological stress-related diseases.
My wife Shelley is an environmental educator with The Conservation Foundation in DuPage County, Illinois. The Foundation owns 250 acres in Ottawa, Illinois called Dayton Bluffs Preserve. The Preserve features a recently created prairie as well as wooded bluffs, overlooking the Fox River.
We recently hiked trails at Dayton Bluffs and at Starved Rock State Park, outside Utica, Illinois. For those who think Illinois is just a flat piece of farmland, you need to visit this area in the north-central part of the state. The canyons, bluffs and river valleys are beautiful no matter what the season. The area was home to Native Americans for thousands of years, and has European roots going back to the the French fur traders and the voyage of Marquette and Joliet in the late 1600s.
So we spent a few days “walking in the woods”, doing a little Shinrin-yoku of our own. The late fall weather was just above freezing and wet at times. There was a mixture of rain and light snow, and while most, of the maples, oaks and walnuts had fallen (leaves not the actual trees), enough leaves were left on branches to create a canopy of silence when in the canyons and lower reaches of the forests.
We left on a Saturday morning and by midday Sunday, I was wet and beat but armed with a fresh sense of purpose, creativity and energy. It was a short, but much needed one day break from the past few months of long days, hectic show schedules and quick-turn due dates.
Now I’m ready for those end-of-year builds, “got to have it on Tuesday” projects and planning for 2018. Bring it on. I am refreshed by Shinrin-yoku and am ready for anything that comes my way.
Some advice to all of my exhibit industry friends, whether on the customer or client-partner side: take the time for a little Shinrin-yoku. I guarantee it will help lower your stress level, clear your mind and help with general wellness.
At least until your first move-in date on January 2nd......