In the office you may, like me, sit staring at a computer, office walls, or another building while you are making your way through another chaotic day – and we do this 5 days a week. Work creates a lot of stress in our lives and it takes up an ever increasing amount of our lives. In both time and mental capacity. There are a few things that can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can build up. Work will still happen, but we can take a few steps to help us deal with this stress and they include getting back to nature.
Seeing and being in nature has been proven to reduce our anxieties and ruminations which in turn, allows us to be more open, creative and positive. However, many of us are increasingly spending fewer hours outdoors and more on our phones or watching TV instead. If you think back to time you spent walking in a park, hiking or reading outside, these are things you probably found relaxing and enjoyable but many of us don’t do them frequently anymore. Since exercising has been shown to help reduce stress as well, activity out of doors is even better for us! As we are increasingly tied to our phones and electronics for a variety of reasons from work to family, we literally spend less time stopping to smell the roses.
Maybe 1 or 2 of you happen to have an office that faces or is near a park with nature trails and you can see trees from your office window (if you have one). You are one of the lucky ones! From my office windows I see more buildings and a helipad which don’t provide the best environment. Though the student housing on one side does at times provide an interesting site. I’m privileged to view them chilling out or sleeping mid-day as I work. However, there are a few little things I can do even in Manhattan, to find a little nature and rejuvenate myself again. So I’m confident you can find some too!
Nature is very visually relaxing for us. Think of leaves blowing in a breeze, snow falling gently or simply watching the clouds pass.
Three ideas to bring a little more nature into your life:
1. Take a Walk – Ideally this is a bit of a nature walk in a park or green belt. Sometimes (or often) your schedule may not allow that this. You can choose to pick up your lunch instead of delivery and spend just an extra few minutes to walk the long way back to the office or take the time to eat your lunch outside. If you can see trees and or water, hear a fountain or stream all the better!
2. Office Terrarium – See a bit of nature on your desk by making or buying a terrarium. These have gained in popularity recently so they are easier to find and add a little bit of a green respite to your day. In areas there are classes so you can make your own too.
3. Nature Images – If actual nature is beyond your grasp, look at images of nature for a few minutes and they can still have a relaxing effect on you. Save a picture from a favorite trip or a trip that you are excited to go on. This image should have nature in it, to allow your mind to unravel a bit. I once saved an image of a hike I went on in the mountains that was so exhilarating and refreshing, that it made me happier every time I looked at it.
If you already have more nature than these items or already do something like these above, you could also plant a plant in your house or get things ready to start a garden in the spring. I think now may be a good time for spring bulb planting like crocus, daffodil & tulips too!
Enjoy some of my nature images below