Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? The aim of this campaign is to highlight the causes and cures of stress, something that affects every one of us. The last few years have been particularly stressful for us all, and as normality slowly returns, it’s important that we all take time to relax and be mindful, whether that’s on our own or by spending time with loved ones. There are plenty of stress-relieving and mindfulness activities you can take part in around Dartmouth, such as taking a dip in the sea or exploring a new place. Take a read of this blog post to discover what you can do.
Forest bathing is an ancient Japanese process of relaxation, known as ‘shinrin-yoku. In the most basic terms, it’s the process of taking in all your senses in a forest atmosphere to promote relaxation. It’s less about the act of walking through a forest, it’s more about being conscious of your surroundings and contemplating the sights, sounds and smells around you. There are plenty of woodlands around Dartmouth for you to visit and immerse yourself in, these include: Radleigh Woods which is a beautiful 250-acre woodland, located on Raleigh Estate between Dartmouth and Dittisham. Simply Soulful are organising forest bathing sessions at Dittisham estate to help guide you through your mindfulness and meditation to help you build resilience from within, deepen your appreciation and gratitude for nature, boost your immune system, reduce stress, and increase balance, focus and clarity in your life. These sessions cost £40 per person; you can read more about it here. If you’re happy to guide yourself, Fast Rabbit Farm Gardens is another excellent choice for forest bathing as their grounds not only contain a woodland, but also several streams and arable farmland. You can find Fast Rabbit Farm on the Strawberry Valley just outside of Dartmouth.
Go for a walk
While forest bathing is typically done in a wooded area, you can still practice this relaxation skill in other environments. As with all exercise, walking releases endorphins into your body which can elevate your mood. It doesn’t have to be done at a fast pace, or for a long time but taking your time to notice and experience the things around you promotes relaxation and helps you to ground yourself – the process of balancing your physical, emotional and mental state. As Dartmouth is situated on the South West Coast Path there are 35 walks within a 10-mile radius; so, there are plenty of short or long walks you can take to immerse yourself in the environment. Soaking in some Vitamin D from the sun will be sure to elevate your mood also.
Try Cold Water Swimming
Since the pandemic, more and more people have started cold water swimming. It’s a popular stress reliever and has been known to help with feelings of anxiety and depression because the cold water brings your body closer to the pain threshold, so it releases endorphins into your body, leaving you feeling happier and calmer. As Dartmouth is a coastal town, there are plenty of beautiful beaches you can visit to cold water swim. Sugary Cove in Dartmouth is a lovely, secluded beach with calm and sheltered water, but still within walking distance to/from Dartmouth. A little further afield is Blackpool Sands, an award-winning beach with beautiful clear water to swim in. You can view our entire selection of beaches in Dartmouth here.
Learn a new skill!
Initially trying something new can be scary, but the excitement of completing a task gives us a feeling of accomplishment and leaves with tools we can use to tackle other problems we may be facing. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at watersports? If so, Dartmouth has plenty of businesses who can help you with just that. Sea Kayak Devon offer skill courses, guided trips and kayak expeditions for solo adventurers or groups of people and they don’t require any previous experience! You can explore the beautiful River Dart from the water and discover secret caves and secluded coves. If you feel like challenging yourself a bit further, you could venture out on one of their overnight camping tours – it’ll certainly be an experience you’ll remember!
In honour of stress awareness month this year, we hope you enjoy taking some time out to relax with your loved ones, and with yourself.
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