Nature cure

Every volunteer deserves a little 'me time' to take stock and tap into the motivations that launched their Scouting journey. Here are three rejuvenating activities from around the world to try, with or without young people in tow

Words: Aimee-lee Abraham | Illustrations: Cabeza Patata

Plogging (Sweden)

Scouts CP Plogging

A combination of 'plucking' and 'jogging', this fitness trend is catching on outside of its native Sweden. It combines cardio with social action, encouraging joggers to sweat not only for the physical and mental benefits exercise brings, but for the greater good. Armed with gloves and bin bags, while they run, ‘ploggers’ scan the streets for stray cotton buds, crisp packets, bottles and other single-use plastics, cleaning up communities as they go. Once a bag of rubbish is full, it’s deposited in an appropriate recycling bin, cutting down on the amount of plastic making its way to the ocean. To join in, all you need is a bin bag, some gloves and a desire to do good.

Moonlight hiking (Ancient Arab World)

Scouts CP Moonlight Walk

The ancient Arabians were pioneering astronomers, but few are aware that their success was partly practical. From the ninth through to the 16th century, the heat of the day was so sweltering it forced desert-dwellers to travel at night, forging an intimate relationship with the moon. There’s something uniquely magical about hiking in darkness, harnessing the light of the moon as it reflects some 3–12 percent of the sun’s rays. Without the din of daytime traffic to distract and irritate, we can marvel at the secret world of nature that we miss out on in sleep, tapping into all five senses, and setting our imaginations free.

Forest bathing (Japan)

Scouts CP Forest Bathing

Science suggests that those who spend more time in forests and other green spaces experience lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, and have even recovered more quickly from surgery or illness. In Japan, Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’ - defined as mindfully immersing yourself in nature - is considered so essential to public health, it’s become a national pastime. Distinct from hiking, it has no goals attached. It does not focus on destinations reached or steps taken. It simply invites people to ‘bathe’ in the full sensory experience of being in a forest, drinking up every sound and sensation and returning to everyday life renewed.

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