As someone who sits at a desk all day during the week, hypnotized by the glow of blue light, I find that getting outdoors is one of the only things that can help break the workday trance and help me feel re-energized. I wasn’t surprised when I came across a study by the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention in the Workplace that found improvement in the psychological well-being of 752 employees who began walking 10,000 steps outside per day. The improvements included their concentration, confidence and helped to reduce stress. This enhanced their sense of well-being was directly correlated to higher productivity, which inspired me to look closely at how time in nature might help us be better in our work lives with a holistic lense.
Spending time outside helps us focus
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain and various tissues, helping us concentrate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. Maybe it’s just the Washingtonian in me, but it made me think that there’s no wonder why we all feel like routined zombies without our Starbucks from the moment we wake up.
I believe that we are naturally people of adventure, of exploration and discovery. We need experiences that wake our spirits, get us out of our comfort zones, and develop our real-life problem-solving skills. When I get the opportunity to get outside of an urban environment and breathe in the fresh air on the weekends, I feel that it clears my mind of all subconscious worry I may not even realize is lingering. When I return to work on Monday after spending time outdoors, I feel noticeably more effective and excited for the week.
Being outside reduces stress, which helps us think clearly and creatively
Work can be stressful, and it can take up a lot of our headspace, hurting our productivity. The American Psychological Association finds the workplace is the second most common source of stress for the majority of people, right after financial concerns. I have been one to bring my work life home, sometimes even tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because of work-related stress. By using time outside as an opportunity to release stress in a healthy way, we can help develop and strengthen our work-life balance. Walking outside in itself helps to release feel-good endorphins throughout the body and rids us of the worry that often holds us back, having more freedom to be creative and think outside of the box in our work environments.
Let’s spend more time outside, and watch how it helps transform other areas in our lives. The average American spends 93% of their life indoors, only leaving 7% for the good stuff. Let’s work to raise this number and experience more of the best part of our world- exploring it!