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One of the most difficult parts of social distancing and self-isolation is the prolonged physical separation. As lockdown continues we miss the hugs. We miss physical touch. And it’s especially hard for those who are quarantining alone. As these feelings of loneliness and isolation grow, Iceland has responded by encouraging people to hug trees.

Rangers from the country’s forestry service are advising people to spend five minutes a day hugging a tree in one of the country’s national parks. Iceland’s forestry service has uploaded several photos on its website to act as a visual guide for tree hugging (people are encouraged to hug different trees).

Indeed, research shows that trees really do have healing powers. The Japanese practice of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku became part of Japan’s national health programme in 1982. Essentially it means to immerse yourself in nature, and is embraced by doctors around the world as a way to combat stress and improve health.

Source: Lonely Planet