In today’s episode, Dr. Toni talks with Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, ND about the health benefits of getting out in nature for your mental health, stress resilience, blood pressure, immunity and more. Also, learn ways to create your own mindful practice for self-care and self-reflection in nature.

Dr. Cyndi is a naturopathic doctor, a mom of two kids and the author of two books: the Essential Guide to Women’s Herbal Medicine and Forest Bathing. Dr. Cyndi’s naturopathic medical practice in Toronto has a clinical focus in mental health, trauma, addiction, sexual/reproductive health and LBGT2SQ health.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The impact of quarantines and stay-at-home orders, in addition to what neighbourhood you live in, on access to green space
  • How less access to green spaces makes you at higher risk for a number of different health conditions related to stress including :
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Dementia
    • Migraines
  • The health benefits of just sitting outside for both you and your kids includes:
    • Lower heart rate
    • Increased stress resilience measured through heart rate variability
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Lower cortisol stress hormone level
    • Increased concentration and ability to think clearly
    • Improved eyesight
    • Decreased rumination over negative thoughts
    • More cooperative and compassionate with ourselves and others
  • How your immune system can benefit from smelling the essential oils of the trees, as well as from the vitamin D your body makes from sun exposure
  • The importance of mindfulness and getting away from your daily responsibilities to decrease your level of stress
  • How you experience nature and green spaces is impacted by your sense of nature connected-ness and safety, which can also depend on your sex, gender and racial identity or level of mobility
  • The importance of considering and acknowledging the history of the land you are on and people who have cared for that land
  • How to create your own mindful practice for self-care and self-reflection in nature
    • Five Senses Forest Bathing – use each of your five senses to acknowledge what is around you
  • How nature can provide a place for both self-care and building community

You can order Dr. Cyndi’s books on her website

You can find Dr. Cyndi on social media (facebook and instagram) @drcyndind or on a hike or in a canoe with her family.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni is grateful for her neighbourhood park to spend time outside with her family with a ball or bottle of bubbles. 

Dr. Cyndi recommends introducing more green into your life, even if it is as simple as having a potted plant. She always brings a plastic bag and glove to clean up garbage in the green spaces she enjoys.

Thank you for joining us today! 

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Stay safe everyone!