Nature’s Power: How Spending Time in Nature Improves Your Wellbeing and Productivity

by Nick Collins

Living a busy lifestyle sometimes means that you spend too much time within your workspace, clacking away on the keyboard and staring at your computer screen. Even when the work time finishes, most people prefer to spend free time in front of screens (almost 3 hours due to the survey). Then how could you change your lifestyle to become less stressed and boost your productivity?

Good news — you don't need to change your lifestyle for that. Instead, we have a more straightforward solution for you — spend more time outdoors or look outside of your window instead of staring at the screen. In this post, we will discover how time in nature can alter the way you work and feel.

Benefits of spending more time in nature

The birds are singing, and the foliage is slowly swaying in the wind — what can be better than a few hours spent in nature? That's not just peaceful scenery: scientists claim that being outside surrounded by plants and trees may benefit your work efficiency and health. Here are the primary reasons why you should go out more often.

A tree alley in the sunlight

Time in nature improves your immunity

Go back to your latest trip to the seaside or mountains — what did you feel there, surrounded by beautiful landscapes, water, and plants? Your breathing has slowed down, and your lungs filled with fresh air, which is already a massive difference from when you're in a crowded office. As for Nippon Medical School research, forest bathing trips strengthen your immunity. Phytoncides or essential oils that come from trees and plants improve your body's ability to fight diseases and protect cells from free radicals and destruction.

Another study has proven that phytoncides, which trees release into the air, contribute to producing anti-cancer proteins in your body. So if you want to stay healthier and don't waste your productivity time on sick days, going out to nature will be a good decision.

Time in nature helps you recover faster and reduce risks of getting severe diseases

Suppose you're recovering from an injury or struggle with chronic pain. In that case, walking in a park may become an effective cure to soothe painful feelings. As for University of Washington research, spending time in nature provides a decent distraction for your brain that helps you relieve pain and improve your wellbeing.

In addition, the University of East Anglia study has found that spending more time outside can reduce your risks of premature death, heart diseases, and diabetes. Study results also showed that people who tend to go out frequently have lower blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, if your goal is to recover quickly and maintain a healthy lifestyle, gather your friends or family and spend your evening surrounded by trees.

People sitting and relaxing in the park

Time in nature provides you with a good night's sleep

With so many stressors around us, no wonder more than 50% of people worldwide have insomnia from time to time. In the meantime, busy workdays, when your brain juggles work tasks, life problems, and daily routines, contribute to your anxiety and induce sleep disorders. In turn, being in nature more often may improve your sleep pattern and help you restore more energy during sleep.

Since our sleep-wake cycle depends on sun exposure, spending more time under natural light will help you fix your circadian rhythms. For example, University of Colorado Boulder research shows that subjects' melatonin levels increased 1,5 hours earlier after just two-day camping in the forest. It means you'll manage to fall asleep earlier and maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle if you go out more often.

Time in nature helps you destress and reduce anxiety

When you're one step away from a mental breakdown, and your mind is full of anxious thoughts, taking a short walk in the nearest square may be beneficial to calm your mind. American Psychology Association study says that getting outside to parks and forests may make you happier and reduce your stress level.

Moreover, research from Cornell University has shown that even after 10 minutes of walking outside, subjects felt less stressed physically and mentally, plus these short walks made them happier. So in case you're looking for a solution to destress without wasting much time, short park walks are an optimal choice for you.

A man walking in the forest

Time in nature boosts your focus and productivity

Have you ever noticed that your productivity and focus increase after going on nature trips, allowing you to overdo your daily work plans and still have energy for other assignments? That's how spending time in nature benefits our brain, scientists claim.

For instance, University of Melbourne researchers have found that you can increase your focus by 6% and maintain stable productivity just by looking at plants and trees. Moreover, they claim those subjects who looked at plain objects without greens faced an 8% concentration loss, and their productivity was less consistent.

Besides, by spending more time outdoors, you allow your tired brain to recover after non-stop work and stress. As a result, you'll improve your learning skills and decision-making abilities, which can boost your career growth and self-development. Plus, a University of Michigan survey has proven that people's performance during memory tests increases by 20% after walking in the park. So by going out more often, you raise your chances of achieving the bravest career goals and becoming more successful in life.

How to incorporate nature time into a busy schedule?

When you barely find time for simple routines like having a decent breakfast or hanging out with your friends, it may seem unfeasible to spend more time with nature. Still, don't fret ahead of time — where there's a will, there's a way! Our tips will help you become closer to mother nature without sacrificing your productivity time.

A man walking in the national park

Choose the path through the park or square on your way to work

We know that sometimes there's no other option aside from taking a cab or driving to your work when you have urgent meetings or tasks. Still, there are also days when you're able to walk to your workplace without rushing.

On those days, we recommend you to go through the park or tree alley when heading to work. Fresh air will clear your mind before a hard-working day, and admiring nature's beauty will improve your focus, creativity, and mood. After all, isn't it the best start of the day when you're able to feel the power of nature?

Eat your lunch outside

When the weather outside is warm, it'd be good to grab your lunch and eat it outside in the nearest square or green zone. Of course, you can also eat it, sitting behind your desk and thinking about work assignments. Such an approach may lead to "brain fog," extra stress, and increased risks of getting heart issues due to the lack of movements.

So only by getting off your desk and walking around, you're already getting health benefits. Then, choose to eat your lunch outside. You'll improve your metabolism, get more vitamin D, and receive all the perks of being surrounded by nature.

People sitting in the park and eating lunch

Take short "nature breaks"

Before rushing to long exhaustive meetings or going into deep work mode, give yourself "nature breaks" by going out to get some fresh air for a few minutes. It will help you reload your brain before strenuous cognitive activities and boost your creativity along with decision-making skills.

You can also engage your colleagues in this activity, so you'll be able to have comforting talks, build connections, or even make new friends during the break. Besides, when you work hard, you should always try to turn your routine into an enjoyable time. Then, when years pass, you'll have many valuable memories of these good days.

Surround yourself by nature when working

If spending more time outside isn't an option for you, you can still get some of the benefits nature delivers. Just take an undemanding plant from your home and put it on your work desk, or if you work from home, surround your desk with plants. Firstly, according to the UTS study, indoor plants at your workplace can reduce unpleasant symptoms like coughing by 35%, dry nose and throat by 20%, and stress by 40%.

Moreover, putting more greens on your desk will result in a 10% productivity boost, job satisfaction, and improved creativity. Some plants can also purify the air, helping you to avoid respiratory diseases. In the end, greens can make your work desk more appealing, so getting to work won't be so stressful as before.

A workplace with many plants

Spend more time outside during vacations

Pandemic has become a total disaster for people who like to travel and spend their vacations abroad. A survey shows that 27% of career professionals reported taking fewer vacation days during summer. At the same time, 14% didn't take any days off due to the high workload. Although, days off are necessary for you to recover your mental and physical strengths, blow off some steam, and reduce stress levels.

And as you already know, there's nothing better for lowering stress levels than spending a weekend surrounded by nature. Therefore, when choosing a place to spend your vacation, we recommend you prefer woodlands, mountains, or seaside resorts. Then, instead of sitting in your hotel room and watching TV series, go hiking or just take a long relaxing walk in the forest. You'll see how therapeutic and inspiring such activity can be (no match to time spent behind the screen).

Walk around the neighborhood

Well, not everyone has a park or forest nearby since most career people live in the concrete jungle. In that case, even a short walk around your neighborhood would be enough to release some stress and get a breath of fresh air. Health Harvard research says regular short walks lower your risks of getting heart diseases by 30%.

Wait — that’s not all! A Stanford University study has found that walking boosts your creative thinking skills and helps you come up with more ideas. So just walking around your neighborhood after work or during the break will help you show better results in your chosen field and improve your wellbeing.

Wrapping up

Whether your work routine is bringing you down or you just have too much on your plate, mother nature is always there for you, ready to heal your stressed mind and grant you energy. By incorporating more natural time into your schedule, you'll strengthen your immunity, elevate mood, and boost your efficiency at the workplace. And with our practical tips, you'll see that you can spend more time outside without sacrificing your work time. So try them now and feel the immediate benefits in your life!

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