The Forest Service of Iceland is breathing new life into the term “tree hugger,” by advising people to hug trees instead of people.
With the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, maintaining social and physical distancing is an essential act to prevent further spread of the virus.
And until the country is out of the woods (get it?) avoiding physical contact is a must.
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“In these difficult times when the coronavirus plagues the nation, separating people and suppressing society, we are asked to avoid intimacy and contact,” the service writes in Icelandic on its website.
“The hugs with other people have to wait. But then there is a good opportunity to experience good tree hugs.”
But don’t just enter a quick hug with a pat on the back of the trunk, really savour the moment, the service advises.
“Be careful not to just hug for a moment,” it explains. “Take hold of the tree and wait until you start to feel how the life flows out from the tree to you.”
However, you still need to be cautious and practice consideration so as not to spread infection.
The site continues that there are enough trees to ensure that people do not need to hug the same one. If you are having trouble finding a tree that hasn’t already been touched along the footpaths, you are advised to venture to the forest.
“It is also good to close your eyes while hugging a tree,” the Forest Service explains.
If you’re feeling starved for attention and physical contact, or if you’re self-isolating and quarantining by yourself, don’t break the rules of physical distancing by hugging a friend or family member.
Instead, branch out and follow the advice of the Icelandic Forest Service and venture outside to hug a friendly neighbourhood tree.