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Feel Better at Work: Bring the Outside In

How many times have you looked out a window at work and longed to be outdoors, or sat under fluorescent lights wishing for a glimpse of something green or blue — anything more natural than what you were experiencing?

You’re not alone. The desire to connect with nature is innate in all of us. Yet for many, our daily office space is counterintuitive to helping us feel our best. It has been proven time and again that incorporating nature into our environments makes us happier and more productive. So why is it that we work in often sterile, enclosed environments, shut off from what fills our souls?

I believe we do have some control over our environment, and we should do what works in the best interest of our wellness. So while you may not be able to pick up your office and move it to a shady forest or sunny beach, here are some things you can do to bring the benefits of nature to work.

  • Surround yourself with plants. The benefits of plants in the workplace are many. Plants humidify and purify the air, and simply seeing them regularly boosts happiness. Studies have shown being around plants can reduce blood pressure and help people heal faster from injuries or surgeries, as well.
  • Incorporate water features. If you’re in charge within your company, perhaps you can encourage bringing in a large-scale water feature. If you’re working on only your personal office space, consider a small feature fountain. Just hearing the sound of trickling water can soothe the soul and calm daily stresses.
  • Try oils. Many times, scent is what draws us in. For uplifting moments in the office, diffuse nature smells of citrus or flower oils. Some wonderful combinations include orange, lemon and grapefruit and lemon and lavender. You’ll be amazed how scents can transform your state of mind. Experiment with blends to find your personal favorite.
  • Use color wisely. Colors have major impacts on our moods and mindsets. Blue is calming and soothing, like staring at the sky or the deep blue ocean. Green is soothing as well, while oranges, reds and yellows can ignite creativity and energy. Consider what you need more of in your day, and choose an appropriate color to give you the perfect boost!
  • Let in fresh air. It sounds simple, but if you have access to a window, open it regularly. Take a moment to soak in the difference you feel in taking a deep breath of fresh air. If the temperatures are too extreme, just leave the window open for a few minutes. Do this daily to reduce the toxins in the air and give you some natural pep.
  • Put nature in your art. If you’re really stuck and can’t seem to incorporate these ideas, try simply including images of nature. Make your screensaver a gorgeous flower or a tropical scene. Frame a photo of your favorite outdoor place, or buy a piece of art that brings a scene into your office.

While you may not have total control over where you work, you can make some simple changes to improve your health and productivity. For more ideas on being your healthiest at work, contact me, Karen David.

A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.

This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.

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