Foraging is fun, Fresh Air is Funner
A huge part of working with food and drink is being creative. You have to be if you want to stand out from the crowd, and at the same time, exercise your brain in a way that allows you to continue to enjoy what you are doing. Being creative is the easy bit. The hard bit is staying inspired so you don’t end up in a creative rut. We’ve all been there.
Having a good mentor, being in a creative team or good having book recommendations are all great assets to have (you are lucky if you have all three). But it’s leaving the very physical and mental space of what you’re doing and where you are that can be the most powerful reset button, or catalyst to the thing you might be hanging up on. Stuck on something or not, take a break.
The gift of living in the Pacific North West and being in the presence of some stunning natural environment allows me to use foraging as an excuse to just get away. I’ll be totally honest, I’ll very rarely go out and get as much of something I’m looking for. I know people who do, and I go with them sometimes, but I just really like being outside. It is a welcome distraction to the hot, artificial lighting of the kitchen, or the dark recess of working behind a bar at night. I return to my day-to-day feeling like a million bucks.
I looked into this….and “Forest Bathing” is actually a thing. Shinrin-yoku is Japanese meaning exactly that; bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. Now this is not hiking, or practicing a hobby out in the woods. It is simply being present in nature, and connecting our senses to the environment around us. Leaving the phone out of reach and being in the present moment will help your mind wash the grease of work-mode. Dissolve any barriers cluttering thought processes. And giving yourself time to rinse the debris away so you can return to work with a fresh, clean mindset.
Practicing your version of this will aid in allowing you to return to the task at hand with a renewed vigour. Leaving the day-to-day work environment to be in nature is one of the things I have realized I need to practice in order to be at my best (coincidentally, my best is also my happiest). Recognizing when I need a break often happens far too late, I’m in a rut and I’m not the best to be around. But when I do drop everything to take time to forest bath, there are never any regrets.
If you’re interested in the phenomenon of “Forest Bathing” there is ample online material to glance at. But it’s really not too difficult. If you can’t get out of the city very easily, grab some ear plugs and find your nearest park with some trees.
Give yourself a break. If you feel like you need one, you probably owe yourself one.