As unlikely as it may sound, spending leisure time outdoors can help your work life, regardless of whether you’re a graphic designer or lawyer. You may not see yourself as Ray Mears but here are a few scientifically-backed reasons why you may want to reconsider.
Psychological Science published a study in 2008 that found nature can give your brain a break from overstimulation, which in turn has a restorative effect and improves your attention levels. More recently in 2012, the Universities of Kansas and Utah found that contact with nature also boosts creativity.
Avoiding the Office Bugs
Other research carried out by the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, found that women who spent six hours in the woods over a course of two days had significantly improved levels of virus and tumour-fighting white blood cells. According to regular news reports, levels of Vitamin D, which is now thought to be absolutely essential to a healthy immune system, are deficient in most of the population. And the best way to absorb Vitamin D is through sunlight.
Get Rid of the Blues
Feeling stressed or depressed? The University of Michigan found that taking nature walks are linked with enhanced mental health and positivity. A slightly less scientific approach is the practise of ‘grounding’, where you walk barefoot in dirt, grass or sand. It’s said to help people connect with the earth’s positive energy and help counteract all the EMF radiation experienced from computers, phones, etc.
An article in the Wall Street Journal focused on how our body clocks can affect how well we perform certain tasks. As people warm up during the day, their cognitive levels improve. So a brisk walk to work would help you start your work day on a higher level. During times of physical or mental fatigue, getting a quick jolt of Vitamin D and fresh air can work wonders.
Get the Gear
So if you’re serious about spending more time outdoors, regardless of the weather, then you need to consider getting the appropriate clothing. A mac and brogues aren’t going to make you feel like hiking through the woods. A warm, waterproof jacket, together with a pair of comfortable walking boots will make you feel like ditching the car forever (well, maybe once a week). e-outdoor.co.uk have all the appropriate attire you’ll need, including some very smart wax jackets (in case you bump into the boss).
Here are some ideas for your next company outdoor activities:
- Fun outdoor team building activities: http://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2013/10/06/15-fun-team-building-exercises-cooperative-excellence/
- Need some examples? Here are the 25 best companies for life outside work: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-25-best-companies-for-work-life-balance-2013-7?IR=T&op=1
- Outdoor meeting is a trend right now: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/10915/Meetings-spaces-hit-the-great-outdoors
With science and psuedo-science both convinced that spending time with nature can help overall in the workplace, can you afford not to sling on your boots and get walking?