As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, so does the pressure on hospitals and health care workers — many of whom are feeling burnt out after a tough year.
This holiday season, the BC Parks Foundation, in partnership with the Association of Forest and Nature Therapy Guides & Programs, is inviting the public to give Nature Therapy sessions to licensed nurses and doctors in B.C. — for only $25.
“Before the experience I felt burnt out, tired and anxious, which is how I have felt for many months now,” said one nurse who participated in a session. “After I was relaxed and felt rejuvenated. I haven’t felt that way since last winter.”
Another nurse had a similarly powerful experience. “That was more powerful than any medication you can take. A lot of my colleagues would benefit from this.”
Sessions will start in January 2021 when post-holiday blues are at their worst.
To respect COVID-19 protocols, group sessions will be guided remotely. Participants will be invited to call or Zoom in from a location in the outdoors, such as a park or backyard. They will listen live as a certified guide invites them to slow down, calm their minds, and tune in to the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world surrounding them.
Nature Therapy. Photo: Ryan Creary / BC Parks Foundation.
People across B.C. are invited to show their gratitude for their health care workers by contributing to a crowdfunding campaign.
Each $25 gift will go towards providing a 90 minute session with a certified guide to a nurse or family physician. The donor can sponsor a specific health care worker they want to thank, or leave their sponsorship open to those in need.
“These wonderful people are giving a lot of themselves to keep us healthy and we are asking British Columbians to send them what they can use most — stress relief,” says Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. “It’s a small gift that gives a lot, bringing rejuvenation to people who are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk every day to keep us healthy.”
The BC Parks Foundation is hoping to provide nature therapy to at least 1,000 health care workers, if not more. The sessions will run until as long as there are funds available.
Licenced nurses and family doctors can email the Foundation (at firstname.lastname@example.org) for a registration access code. In January, they will be able to sign up for a session based on the number of sessions that have been sponsored.
“Health care professionals, and our parks, have kept B.C. healthy this year,” says Day. “This is your chance to give thanks by giving them some good health back.”
For more info, visit bcparksfoundation.ca/nature-therapy.