Here are a few ways that nature can help you keep a healthy routine, reduce that vacant stare & “stuck in a rut” feeling you might have found yourself in working from home. Create separation between focused work tasks and life hobbies and responsibilities. Connections with nature will help your mind to reset and restore a more balanced chemistry, which can reduce stress and increase focus and motivation. Resulting in your feeling happier in yourself.
Make the outdoors your break space- Regular breaks will help you to pause, refocus and restore momentum. Our focus (unless in total flow) is usually around 60-90 minutes per task. Regular short breaks between tasks, will also help reduce multi-tasking and ensure you chunk your focus & motivation. Using your outdoor space, either by physically going out to it, or through looking from a window/door ( British weather is temperamental after all) helps you to get fresh air, change your physical state through the movement and senses you will experience in the connection with nature.
Room with a view- Research reports that people working near natural light benefit from reduced stress, better sleep, more energy, and an increased positive attitude.
Growth is Great- You don’t have to be a green fingered pro, but the benefit of engaging in horticulture such as planting a seed or attempting a veg plot is a great activity to engage in around your work role. Using your breaks to tend to the growth of your produce. Research also details that experiencing this growing activity and having plants around you is great for mental health, self-esteem& prolonged attention span. The practice of planting and tending to your plants is also linked to similar focus levels someone engaging in mindfulness might posses helping to calm and focus you. If that’s not enough contact with soil has been linked to improved gut health as well!
Nature Based Guided Meditation – Instead of scrolling through your phone for videos or internet shopping. Have a go at a guided meditation using youtube or an app. Many of these free resources will have beautiful nature imagery either through the guides script or visually. Meditation may be done at the beginning, middle or end of your working day, explore which has the best benefit for you alongside your daily energy patterns– here is one to have a go at by Natural Academy
Notice Nature - taking time to notice nature, even as part of your day or as an activity on a break or as a hobby will help you to achieve relaxation. From bugs in cracks, to birds in trees, to cloud shapes or he smell of flowers. All these actions will take your mind and body to a more relaxed state.
Go Wild - create a spot in your yard or garden to get wild & messy. Plant meadow seeds (Between £1.99-7.99 a pack) or leave a patch of lawn un-mowed. Watch the wildlife come to your spot. Set yourself a little break activity to see things grow and watch as nature claims this space over time. Rewilding your lawn is also rewilding your mind!
Biophilic Design – ok so I am not saying you invest in a high-end interior designer. The simple principles of biophilic design are reconnecting people with natural space through building design/styling. On your remote working scale, you could do this by adding a plant to your desk, which not only enhances your connection but having plants in your house may improve air quality of your working space. Research has evidenced that even connecting with pictures of nature will have a benefit on mental fatigue or stress. So enhancing the space with beautiful scenery or a natural landscape from a fond holiday memory is a great way to anchor those positive feelings.
Take a walk: I use walks to structure my day. A walk in the morning sets me up ready and awake for work. A quick lunch time stroll round the block/down the lane helps me get fresh air and refocus and an evening walk draws the line between work and life. Allows me to process my thinking and transition to a place of relaxation. Walking is also great for your physical health
Part of Nature: See yourself as a natural being - considering yourself as part of the natural world can help to bring a sense of calm and connection on a more spiritual level. In other studies, aligning our perception of being part of the natural world (instead of separate from it) increases our caring qualities and pro-environmental behaviours.
Meet Basic Needs: Take your awareness back to your basic needs as a natural being. Models such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need and Max Neef’s Fundamental human needs model, encourage us to pay attention to habits and activities that enrich our mental and physical health.
Keep hydrated (water is best)
Eat healthy balanced food
Consider the environment that you work in is set up for your tasks and comfortable. In turn having separate or transitional spaces for your life habits. (even if just packing away your desk items for the day)
Nurture a balanced sleep routine and take time to rest/stretch away from your work tasks.
Be sure to move, stagnant lifestyles increase our risk of health conditions and have a negative impact on our mental well-being and ability to feel focused and motivated.
Connect with valuable relationships
Have a go, you might like to keep a mood journal of before and after exploring these things to see how your thoughts and feelings change as you increase your connection with nature.
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