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Who says raising livestock can’t be relaxing?

tree canopy
AT ONE WITH NATURE: Take a hike in the woods and let go of your stress. That’s how the Japanese handle stress!
Hayhurst’s Hayloft: Let’s borrow a page from the Japanese and learn to relax on the farm.

By Susan Hayhurst

Just in time, before the stressful holiday season, a revolutionary type of relaxation technique awaits you. Known by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” it promises that communing with nature is therapeutic. I think farmers, men and women alike, should adapt such bathing exercises into farm frolics.

We all have a variety of frolic opportunities that can be shared with those near and dear to us, along with those who might just be curious. Put your phones away, shut down your screens and stuff your earbuds in a drawer. Sit back and be transcended away from your pressures and chaos.

According to fodors.com, forest bathing includes adventures in the woods, endurance hikes and yoga. Farm frolics offer traipsing through pastures and high-stepping over cow pies. Instead of chanting, “Ommm,” frolickers can vent their frustrations with “Shoot!”; “This one’s huge!”; and “Are you kidding me? Another one?”

Deep-breathing exercises are a critical part of forest bathing and farm frolicking. Breathing in deeply in the forest can lower your blood pressure and heighten your senses. Breathing while frolicking ensures every one of your senses, including your sixth sense, will be amplified. Caper through a hog haven, poultry palace, cattle castle or sheep shelter, and you’re guaranteed to remember vivid smells your memory will never forget.

Spa treatments are also essential for the ultimate experience. Instead of sliced cucumbers on the eyelids and high-priced masseuses kneading out your tension, bask in the cool waters of an oversized cattle trough. The gentle beasts will use their rough tongues to exfoliate your skin while trying to nudge you out of their personal space. A slathering of your choice of manure will refresh your delicate skin.

Doesn’t that leave you with plenty to meditate on?

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute, Ind.

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