Before undertaking any Shinrin-Yoku sessions in an urban setting safety issues should be thought about
These can include:
In the UK the weather is always going to be a factor!
In the heat you need to take into account the possibility of sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion especially if you’re going to be out for a number of hours and during the colder months it’s about ensuring you’re warm enough to stay outside
It’s no fun getting too wet in either the warmer or colder months so keep an eye on the weather forecast and wear the appropriate clothing for the conditions you think you’re going to get
If there are extreme weather warnings such as those that have been in place for storms then use common sense and don’t venture out; it’s really not a great idea to put yourself and others in danger
Slips, trips and falls are a real possibility so make sure you wear the appropriate footwear for the environment you’re going to be doing your sessions in
Try not to get lost as please believe me when I it’s perfectly possible to lose your bearings in some of the urban woodlands and it can take a time to find your way out!
If you can get mobile signal Google maps can be a good option or take a real map as a back up
Be aware when you’re on your own in more remote or isolated parks of parks, green spaces and woodlands. Keep a mobile with you and for the bigger places I’d recommend having a whistle with you to attract attention
I’d also recommend that you tell someone when and where you’re going if you’re on your own
In larger spaces it’s often a good idea to do sessions in groups rather than alone not only for your safety around other people but also in case you have an accident
If you have any physical health issues then please be aware of your limits in doing Shinrin-Yoku sessions. Ensure you have any medication that you require with you and do sessions in places where you’re able to get help or assistance quickly
I always carry a small first aid kit with an ample supply of plasters as there’s nothing like a blister to ruin your day!
Flora and Fauna
In the UK the only creatures e normally have to be aware of in urban settings that pose a threat are other people!
The most common creature to come across are dogs and I’ve had a few interesting encounters with our four-legged friends over the years! In most parks there are areas where dogs are not allowed so I tend to use them. On green spaces and woodlands dogs are most often off the leash so exercise caution if the environment is known to be used by dog walkers
Be aware of mosquito bites and always have some form of repellant if they are a problem for you. Some environments are worse than others but anywhere with standing water in the warmer months normally signals mozzie bites especially in the evenings
As well as stinging nettles there are a number of native plants that can be an irritant so it pays to read up on which ones are best avoided in the environments that you’re doing your sessions
It should also go without saying that you shouldn’t be tasting or eating anything that you come across unless you are certain it’s safe to do so; there are a number of ‘Foraging’ courses out there if this area interests you
By taking a few, simple precautions before we begin any urban Shinrin-Yoku sessions we can ensure a safe and enjoyable time for everyone involved
Thanks for reading