We’re on the cusp of daylight savings end, when we’ll set our clocks back an hour and transition into late fall. The sun sets an hour earlier and here in Upstate, NY, we’ve already had our first dustings of snow. Cooler temperatures and less sunlight mean many spend more time snuggled up indoors rather than exploring the great outdoors. It can be difficult to connect with nature during this time of year and especially throughout the winter.
But there are countless mental and physical benefits to spending time in nature, like improving memory, fighting depression, and even lowering blood pressure. Concerned about how our digital environment can dull our senses, specifically in children, Richard Louv coined the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder” in his book Last Child In The Woods.
Although it’s not a medical condition, in an interview with Greater Good Magazine, Louv defines it as “a useful term—a metaphor—to describe what many of us believe are the human costs of alienation from nature: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, a rising rate of myopia, child and adult obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies.”
The Japanese practice shinrin-yoku, which means forest bathing, involves unplugging from the digital world and embracing nature. Scientist Dr. Qing Li explains, “This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.”
Forest bathing focuses the mind and body on being present in nature without any devices to tap into the five senses, embracing the sights, smells, textures, sounds, and even tastes of the forest. Researchers have linked various health benefits to the practice, including a “relaxing effect.”
Similar to forest bathing, glamping celebrates the raw, wild beauty of the great outdoors in an accessible way. Nature’s whims may seem like an inconvenience during a routine day, but glamping reframes the weather, reminding us that it’s a form of sustenance for our forests. Rain for example, may be associated with ruined plans or an obstacle to run from in order to stay dry. But when you hear raindrops on the canvas of your furnished tent, it becomes a rhythm of the forest, signaling nourishment needed for plants and trees to grow.
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or you’ve never slept outside, glamping connects you to nature in the most comfortable way possible with your shelter, bed and campfire ready and waiting for you. Staying in a tented hotel ensures you’re simultaneously equipped with modern amenities while immersed in nature so you can experience the physiological and physical benefits of unplugging outdoors.