By ,
Community Events Manager

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time unplugging. I find myself doomscrolling late at night, only to be left feeling more tired. But since the weather has been warming up lately, I’ve felt the pull to go outside, take a deep breath, and smell the flowers. When I do this, I can sense myself recharging and feeling more alive. Seeing the seasons change before my eyes, I’m reminded to pause and enjoy these moments and be present in my mind and body. 

During Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re reflecting on the activities that contribute to our well-being in an often hectic world. And what better place to practice mindfulness, a key component of mental wellness, than here in our region’s rich landscapes? The joy of being present in nature, feeling the sun’s warmth on our skin, and hearing the gentle rustle of leaves can truly ground us.

Taking It Easy with Mindfulness

Engaging in mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s about focusing on the present moment, which can bring about a sense of calm, reduce stress, and help you connect with your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. 

Of course, finding the time to integrate mindfulness amid life’s chaos can be challenging. But don’t worry, we’ve gathered some straightforward techniques for you to try out — trust us, it can be as easy as breathing!

Practicing mindfulness in nature can be as easy as slowing down and taking deep breaths.

Tune In to Your Breathing

Breathing is so commonplace to us that it can be easy to forget that we do it at all. Which is funny, since it’s quite literally our lifeforce. Tuning in to your breathing is powerful, as it allows you to feel in touch with that lifeforce in the present, as you take in air and put it back out again. Simply by paying attention to your breath, you can reconnect with your present senses and induce a state of calmness

We’ve created this video of soothing nature imagery alongside an animated circle. As you watch, try to match your inhale and exhale to the slow contractions and expansions.


Though a great tool to achieve mindfulness on a hike, these breathing techniques can be used anywhere!

Bend and Flex

Second to breathing, a five to ten minute stretching session might be the simplest mindful activity. Even the most basic stretching positions, such as reaching down to touch your toes, allow you to physically communicate with your body and its needs. You’ll become aware of which limbs feel tight, and which muscles are naturally more flexible. Plus, there are significant benefits to regular stretching, including a decreased risk of injury, increased blood flow, and greater joint mobility. 

This article by Healthline covers more about the benefits of stretching, and offers tips on beginner poses. (P.S., for any Spotify users out there, Spotify curates a personalized Stretching Mix Playlist with your favorite relaxing tunes. Just type “stretching mix” in the app’s search bar, and you’ll have soothing music to stretch to!) 

Take a Forest Bath

It’s well-known that hiking has positive effects for both our mental and physical health. Forest bathing is the idea that walking slowly for short distances allows you to reap the best of those benefits. Rather than prioritizing distance traveled or calories burned, a forest bath encourages contemplating nature and slowly observing it, which translates to lowered stress and elevated moods.

Take time on a walk to notice the natural world around you.

Speed is counterintuitive to soaking in the scenery, so take your time! Stop and smell the plant-life, notice how the moss grows on the bark, or pause and ponder over the birdsong overhead.

Forest Bathing 101

Stroll in the Moonlight

Our days are often filled with tasks to complete, errands to run, and business to take care of. Without regular breaks from this wild routine, life can feel overwhelming. We recommend taking that much needed break at a time when the world’s a little quieter…nighttime. 

A night hike is a special outing. With the cool moon above you rather than a blazing sun, a certain magical quality pervades the air, setting the scene for twilight contemplations. Strolling in the nighttime is a relaxing and quietly exhilarating way to reflect on the busy days while appreciating the much more silent nights.

Check out this blog to hear our recommended destinations for a nighttime hike, at parks that either stay open until ten at night or never close at all. You’ll also find our extra nighttime hiking tips!

Night Hikes 101


Explore the Asian American Healing Guide

If you’re looking for a written resource, this Nature Walk Guide produced by Chopsticks Alley Art offers meditations, self-care tips, poetry, art, and recommended hikes all in one place. On one page, lose yourself in a peaceful poem, penned by one of several Asian American artists featured in the book. On the next page, discover a local destination where you can connect with the outdoors. There’s so much to get out of this read, but its foundations are simple: reflection, appreciation, and meditation.


Remember, mindfulness need not be too elaborate! It can be as straightforward as a deep breath or a gentle stretch. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in a moonlit stroll, embark on a forest bath, or explore the Asian American Healing Guide’s reflective insights, we hope you’ll savor the present moment and appreciate the simple joys of being alive in our vibrant landscapes. Let us move forward with a renewed sense of calm and gratitude for the natural world all around us.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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