Cottagecore aesthetic as a whimsical movement has introduced many to a beautifully slow life full of cooking, gardening, reading, appreciation of nature, gratitude for the simple things in life, fashion, and more. So many wonderful pieces of this lifestyle add to our lives. It is no surprise that this lifestyle caught traction during a time in history that forced us to slow down. A time in history where some of us struggled with our overall wellness. One very important way the cottagecore lifestyle has enhanced our lives is by possibly improving our wellness!
The lifestyle naturally brings us into nature via our forests, community parks, gardens, or even our backyard to reflect, have lunch, find peace, paint, read, or maybe take an occasional selfie. If you have found time surrounded by nature to be grounding or healing for you- you are not alone!
Shinrin-Yoku translates to “forest bathing”, which involves taking in the forest mindfully during a walk. Nature therapy aims to expose one to natural stimuli to encourage physiological relaxation and boost the immune system. There’s forest therapy, green therapy, ecopsychology, all different names given to therapeutic treatments and studies about the benefits of connecting to and being in nature for our mental, and physical wellness.
@paulagalez peacefully forest gazing.
Wellness of the Mind
As we all know, cottagecore promotes slow living. This creates the perfect condition to transition into mindfulness practice within nature. Our continued practice of mindfully taking in nature provides relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. Have you walked through a field, or sat at the park after rain and taken in an earthy, rich smell that soothed you? This is called ‘petrichor’. It is a scent released from the earth when it rains in the forest/nature. Ayushi Bulani wrote in “An all you need essential oil guide for the beginner”, that scent promotes relief through our sense of smell. This is the magic working behind that wonderful feeling you have as the earth releases petrichor for us to enjoy, and possibly experience some relief from stress.
Viewing nature also relieves stress. A study in Japan found that simply viewing the forest scenery and walking around for 15 minutes created a physiologically relaxed state in their group. Nature engages all of our senses from the sound of soothing rain, viewing the sunlight breaking through leaves, smelling the scent carried by a breeze or newly fallen snow, the taste of honeysuckles freshly plucked, or the feel of the wind through our hair.
The lovelies that enjoy the ocean or lakes more than a walk through a wildflower field are not left out. There’s research that shows that blue (water-based) and green (greenery) spaces still provide protective buffers against anxiety and depression. So, to my forest lovers- I invite you to create more opportunities to expose yourself to water-based outings and/or indoor water fixtures amongst your plants.
@thenikkirossi enjoying the ocean.
Wellness of the Body
Growing up I have heard that stress kills. Over time, it affects our physical health and we can begin to deteriorate. Luckily, this can be buffered with exposure to nature as well. In a study done with middle-aged men with high-normal blood pressure, the researchers found that forest therapy lowered their blood pressure and reduced associated cardiovascular disease. Pairing our exposure to nature with being active and being mindful of our food helps our hearts beat on longer!
Finally, the cottagecore lifestyle advocates buying from local farmers’ markets, gardening, and the slow art of home-cooked/baked food. Knowing the healthy food on your plate was grown with your hands, and now nourishes your body is beautiful. Check out: Sandy Salierno’s article "Planning your garden" to begin your own garden!
The beautiful thing about nature is there are multiple ways to access it and leverage it for our wellness. Yet, we must remember to try to take care of it. So, it continues to take care of us. If we fully embrace the heart of the cottagecore lifestyle, we can use the beautiful practices it promotes to nourish our minds, bodies, and spirit.
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