Iceland’s Government Is Telling Its Lonely Citizens To ‘Go Hug A Tree’
Some people enjoy being in self-quarantine, but one difficult part for many is the loneliness associated with it. Going without company or the comfort of physical contact for long periods of time can cause problems with a person’s mental well-being. It helps to have phone calls or video chats but there is nothing quite like a hug.
People have been doing what they can to keep loneliness from encroaching on their lives, including some creative solutions from the Icelandic forest service. That organization is suggesting the people wrap their arms around a tree because it’s the next best thing to a human hug.
The Icelandic forest service has even plowed paths through the snow in eastern Iceland’s remote areas to make it possible for residents to get to the trees. Hikers also find it easier because trails have been widened so they can be outside and still maintain social distancing.
You will find many pictures of people cuddling trees on the IFS website. It’s nice to see people smiling, even though we are going through some difficult times.
One of the people who is taking the advice of the group is the woman below. She shows that you can even hug with your legs! After the picture was shared on the IFS official Instagram account, it inspired other people to try.
Sure, it may look strange but experts agree that hugging a tree can be therapeutic.
“When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up into your head,” forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson reportedly said in an interview with RÚV, Iceland’s public broadcasting company. “It’s such a wonderful feeling of relaxation and then you’re ready for a new day and new challenges.”
This picture was shared by the Icelandic Forest Service that shows a whole family taking part in the endeavor.
There are people outside of Iceland who have also found the benefits of getting out in nature.
In America, researchers have discovered that many people are suffering from nature-deficit disorder because they don’t have enough greenery around them. They also found that when a person suffers from depression, anxiety, and ADHD, exposure to nature can help to ease the problem. It just may be that hugging a tree is an option we should all consider.
In Iceland, the national forests have remained open while the coronavirus pandemic is a problem, but that isn’t true in the United States.
Locals have often had to keep their distance from trees because green spaces were closed in the United States. If you happen to have a tree, why not go out and give it a hug? If not, you might want to check out some of the national parks remotely. It isn’t the same as being there, but it couldn’t hurt.