Center Parcs hosted its second Space to Breathe event at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire on Monday 21st January, in a bid to dispel the ‘Blue Monday’ myth by inviting attendees to step into the forest for a well-deserved breather from their daily routine.
Following the success of the inaugural Space to Breathe event at Elveden Forest in October 2018, this one-day event was attended by clients, agents and local businesses, including TEDGroup, University of Nottingham and Experian, who enjoyed an exclusive programme focusing on physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The day featured a session by fitness instructor Frank Sinclair, who explored the role exercise plays in mental and physical wellbeing and discussed how certain exercises can help reduce stress levels, while sharing tips on how to control this through exercise of various intensity levels and stimulation of the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’.
Author Alison Swift shared her insights into tackling stress and negative thoughts as part of her ‘wellness toolbox’ of strategies which features in her book ‘My Wellness Toolbox’. Alison explained to attendees how they could take simple steps towards daily self-care. Attendees also had the opportunity to explore the forest on foot, winding down at the conclusion of the day with a relaxing yoga session.
As part of Center Parcs’ ongoing commitment to promoting the power of the outdoors, ‘Space to Breathe’ reinforces research conducted in partnership with Liverpool John Moore’s University which explored the benefits of the natural outdoor environment. As part of the research study, a systematic review found that even brief exposure to the forest is advantageous to emotions, particularly chronic stress. Japanese concept ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ (forest bathing), which relates to spending time in the forest amongst the trees, is often recommended as a stress reducing technique, something which was a key influence in the development of Space to Breathe.
Dan Elliott, National Sales Manager at Center Parcs, said: “Our second ‘Space to Breathe’ event has been another great success, responding to high demand following our inaugural event at Elveden Forest. With all the narrative surrounding ‘Blue Monday’ as the gloomiest day of the year, we wanted to offer attendees a positive alternative for the date and instead equip them with practical tips and techniques to help ease stress in their day-to-day lives – including providing attendees with a mindfulness pack featuring soothing sounds of the forest and a deep breathing exercise.
“From the previous research we have carried out both internally and with Liverpool John Moore’s University we are aware that office workers struggle to spend time outside during the working week – especially during the winter months – despite the abundance of research showing the benefits of having access to the outdoors. Not everybody has a forest on their doorstep, so ‘Space to Breathe’ allowed us to take the opportunity to share our unique environment with some of our clients and agencies, and rewrite the ‘Blue Monday’ rules!”