Work can be stressful and employees often look for opportunities to get out of the office for a mental break. Sometimes it’s for something to eat or to run an errand during business hours, but many times it’s just to clear their heads. When employees work close to calm or serene environments like a park or body of water, those locations can become magnets for people to clear their minds and find a few minutes to relax.
People like to be outside and when to opportunity to do so presents itself at work, it should be encouraged. Here are our top five reasons why being out in nature can help employees de-stress and recharge and tips to make the outdoors more accessible:
- It’s just really good for your general health and well-being
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending time in the forest has multiple health benefits including boosting your immune system, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving mood, increasing your ability to focus, accelerate recovery from illness or surgery, increase energy levels and improve sleep. Forests are calm environments, so look to similar ones around the office like a pond or bike path if Delaware Park isn’t right outside the window.
- Most people choose to be outdoors when given the option
The University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing, cited a study in which researchers found that more than two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed. This shouldn’t be too surprising to read. Honestly, if you were stressed, would you rather be in a loud, crowded cafeteria or outside? Sometimes it can be a challenge with the local weather. Offer some conveniences around the office like communal umbrellas for when it’s raining or even snow shoes for wintertime walks.
- Being outdoors re-calibrates our senses
University of Utah psychologist Davis Strayer believes in a theory he’s coined the “Three-Day Effect” – that when an individual spends three days in nature, they are able to focus better and be more productive. He asked participants in a study to work on creative problem-solving tasks after spending 72 hours backpacking in the wilderness and found their performance increased by 50 percent. Now not everyone likes camping or hiking, but similar research correlates to Strayer’s and shows that people are more productive after a short break from the work desk so encourage your team to take them!
- Being Outdoors Relieves Depression
We all get negative thoughts or feelings from time to time and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But for some, those thoughts and feelings persist and can become detrimental to their health. A study conducted by scientists at Stanford showed that participant that went for a 90-minute walk in a park-like setting as opposed to along a densely trafficked urban thoroughfare had reduced levels of rumination (glumness over whatever is bothering you). Avoiding Delaware Avenue or Main Street might be something to keep in mind the next time you plan out your lunchtime walk or evening exercise route. Explore less busy streets and more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods that are tree-lined.
- Being near water makes us more mindful
According to writer Jenny Marchal, proximity to water induces people into a more meditative state, which can relax the brain and has some similar positive effects to our health as walking and hiking like reduced stress, lower depression/anxiety, and improved sleep. Try planning water-related activities like kayaking or a boat outing to really immerse yourself in the nautical opportunities we have locally with our location just steps from the Buffalo River.
Looking to get your team out of the office and into nature? Fill out the form below and one of our kayak experts will give you all the details about our corporate tours program!