Between sleeping, life’s responsibilities, and working hours, we spend the majority of the week inside. In fact, North Americans spend up to 95% of their time indoors! This doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to connecting with nature solely on the weekends – just the opposite! Here’s how to maximize the time you spend with nature by including it in your workday.
Invite the Outside In
Allow as much natural sunlight into your workspace as possible, by opening curtains and blinds. If pollution (noise and otherwise) isn’t an issue – open your windows to allow the fresh air in. Even placing images of natural scenery around your work station or as your desktop/ screen saver can improve productivity and decrease mental fatigue.
Green Your Space
Naturalize your work area with plants. Plants in the workspace clean the air, contributing to better physical health, and also have psychological benefits including reduced stress and increased cognitive function. Just remember that they require care in order to care for you!
Make the Most out of Commuting
Walking or biking to work is an ideal way to combine fitness and time outside, but isn’t always possible. By parking a little further from work, or getting off of transit a few stops before your destination gives you the opportunity to breathe in some fresh air and centre yourself before starting your day.
Suggest conducting appropriate meetings outside, or even try a walking meeting! If you work from home or telecommute – consider setting up an office space outside.
Seize the Moment
Lunch breaks and Conference calls (that don’t require laptops) are great opportunities to get a dose of outside time. Eating outside breaks the bad habit of eating at your desk, making your lunch a mindful and social activity, plus it reduces screen time! You may also find that you have a better focus on calls when taken out of the work environment.
Partnering up with a co-worker means you will hold each other accountable to to getting daily doses of outdoor time. Even a walk around the block moves your body and gives you a mental break from your workday- having an office pal, (or 2 or 3) will increase the chances of making this a regular practice.