We all know that being in nature does wonders for our mental health so it's great to find things to do in Hampshire that are brimming with connecting to our natural world. We chat with Sonya Dibbin on her outdoor Experiences.
Hello Sonya, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
Sonya: Hello! I’m based in Winchester and I take small groups of people (friends, teams, the general public) into the woods for rewilding. I teach them a ‘new way of being’ in nature; experiencing it fully by being slow, calm and quiet. The opposite of what we usually do, really – we usually rush our time in nature, either getting our steps in or walking the dog
I operate across Hampshire (Basingstoke, Winchester, Romsey and the New Forest). I also work online, with participants joining on zoom from their gardens or local woods (ideal for connecting remote working teams or friends in different countries).
That's sounds amazing and something that we all need so much more of since multiple lockdowns. How long have you been running your business for?
S: I've been running for two and a half years now.
What made you start your business?
S: Turning my back on a 25-year career in Corporate IT Management, I retrained as a Forest Bathing and Mindfulness Guide in early 2019 so that I could spend more time outdoors. The minute I knew I was going to be a mum, I knew the best gift I could ever give to my son was a love for all seasons – including winter. I didn’t want him to be miserable if it was rainy or cold as senseless misery is so damaging (I had grown up with this all around me). I have always taken him outdoors and celebrated all types of weather and I’m pleased to say, he’s as mad about nature in all forms as I am. My greatest achievement yet.
Who would you say your Experiences were for?
S: My Experiences are for anyone who enjoys being outdoors. I’ve had some amazing events with groups of friends celebrating big birthdays and hen dos, it works really well for a team who want to try something new that allows them to get to know each other better, and also for the general public – we all need a bit of time out from time to time, don’t we?
We sure do! What can people expect from your Experience?
S: My 3 hours experiences are designed to activate the senses and quieten the thinking mind, giving you a deep sense of peace and calm which you take home with you. I guide meditations and facilitate mindful activities such as building land art, mindful photography or focusing in on one sense. We usually finish with a tea ceremony made with foraged leaves from the woods (pine needle tea always goes down well and is packed with nutrients!).
I already feel relaxed just thinking about it. So Sonya, what do you love most about Hampshire?
S: I love that the countryside is all around me, yet the beach is just an hour away!
Who are your favourite Hampshire businesses?
S: Doda Yoga in Andover, Vita Skin Spa in Winchester and Lomi Lomi Massage in Hursley.
Quick fire round, which do you prefer?
Beach or City? Beach
Tea or Coffee? Tea
Spring or Autumn? Autumn
Cosy pub or bustling restaurant? Cosy pub
Something active or something creative? Creative
Finally, what are you most looking forward to over the next 12 months?
S: Spending more time outdoors! The plan was always to be outside more but because of all the replanning, lockdowns and homeschool etc, I’ve been indoors on the laptop a lot.
If you're ready to immerse yourself in nature and find a slice of calm then take a look at Sonya's Experiences:
Forest Bathing in Crab Wood, Winchester
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