Take the indoors, outdoors

Utilise the outdoors to have those important conversations. The impact of being outside, in fresh air with plenty of space enables us to relax and open our minds to explore.

Last month was ‘Stress Awareness Month’, meaning you probably received emails about resources and support in your organisation to help when you feel stressed, there may have been a greater focus on employee wellbeing for the month and you may have taken part in activities introduced into the workplace to reduce stress. An informative way to support staff in both work-related stress and stress arising from outside of work. Hopefully there were useful techniques and ideas introduced to help you maintain good wellbeing and reduce stress levels. How else might you keep wellbeing a focus at work moving forward from the awareness month? With the warmer weather on the horizon, here are a few things I introduce in the summer to help improve wellbeing.

  1. Have a meeting outside

Quite often I meet with new clients over a coffee, to discuss what their goals, aims and intentions are for beginning a coaching programme. And it’s great to chat over a coffee, in a neutral environment. This week we’ve had a few rare appearances from the sunshine, meaning the opportunity to go outdoors has been taken by many of us. So, I’ve held some of these meetings outdoors too, and the results have been worth sharing. Having an open space seems to create the option to speak more freely and think openly. The fresh air brings clarity and the sunshine increases our serotonin levels and boosts our Vitamin D. Apparently, just 5-15 minutes of sunlight on our skin two to three times a week is enough to boost our Vitamin D and have a positive effect on our mood.

Could you have your next meeting outside? And what resources would you need for this to work?

2. Walk and talk outside

Movement has a great impact on our thinking too. Ever wondered how sometimes you leave work and start your journey home constantly going over and over the last email of the day or the last meeting you had? Yet by the time you’ve reached your front door, everything seems to have been resolved? Physically moving forward sparks creativity, when we are on the move we find solutions. Stanford researchers studied the impact of walking on thinking in 2014 and found ‘walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.’ I usually go for a walk when I get stuck writing content for workshops or talks and find that I come back with many solutions!

When could you walk to become ‘unstuck’ in your average day?

3. Do something active outside

The benefits of fresh air are endless, I usually find that if I’ve been stuck indoors all day that I am craving some fresh air. Doing something active outside doesn’t need to be a competitive sport or strenuous bootcamp. Last week I planted 10 new plants in the garden when I had a spare few minutes. This is something I rarely do, but I took pleasure in learning how to do something new. When we do something different we become mindful, being completely in the present to learn what works and what we need to change. If we are being instructed on how to do something new, we focus on the present even more to listen to information that might help us. It gives us a break from being stuck on ‘auto-pilot’ doing the same thing repeatedly without paying attention to the present moment and what we are physically doing.

What outdoor activities could you do to become more mindful?

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