Incorporating nature connection into the work day
by Hilary Hirtle, WeConservePA
If you have worked from home since the beginning of the pandemic, then you may (in some form or another) be returning to the office, or planning a return to the office in the near future.
We all have cultivated our own experiences, opinions, and preferences about working from home. Reflecting on my own, I was surprised at how much more likely I was to incorporate a connection with nature into my day, as compared to when I was working within an office 100% of the time. Things like going on a short walk before the start of work, taking my lunch break outside, and opening the windows to just listen to the birdsong were some habits that I developed. These were mindful and meaningful connections that became a part of my day that made me feel more grounded, even energized, especially when each day felt like it was on repeat. As working from home transitions to working from an office once more, I’m resolved to keep up these habits in the best ways that I can. If you’re looking to do this as well, hopefully the following tips will be of help.
Connect with nature at start of the day
Do you read the news or check your email first thing in the morning before even starting work? Trade that for sitting quietly outside or near a window at the start of the day, being mindful and present to your immediate natural surroundings.
Taking a break or lunch? Take it outside!
Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour, taking your breaks or lunch outside is a great way to incorporate time spent in nature into your day. When doing this, try to leave your phone behind to provide you with time to disconnect. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable doing this, turn your phone off or on vibrate, and try not check email or messages until it is time to return to work.
Move your desk closer to a window
The opportunity to just view nature is linked to a decrease in stress and increase in mood and self-esteem. If your office space doesn’t have a window or it’s not possible to move your desk, consider adding some nature-themed artwork or even plants to your office space as a way to bring the outdoors, indoors.
Listen to the sounds of nature
Do you listen to podcasts, music, or the news while working? Why not listen to the sounds of nature? There are many online recordings of birdsong, ocean waves, falling rain, and more. Personally, one of my favorites is BirdNote’s Sound Escapes.