Your Summer Solstice Resolution: Get Outside

Your brain works a whole lot better with exposure to nature. Photo: Gerald Altman / Pixabay

Longer hours of daylight and warmer weather naturally draw us outside more to enjoy it. We’ve been telling you for years this is a GOOD thing (with hats and sunscreen handy).

So I had to laugh just a little when I read the Wall Street Journal this week. In an article on its Career and Leadership page, it featured a “new trend” for the coronavirus age: finding ways to hold work meetings in person by – meeting outside. News flash!

The article reports workplaces setting up meetings in all kinds of outdoor spaces like parks, beaches, or even in private yards where social distancing and masks allow people to meet safely and get away from their screens and Zoom. Companies say the results are “amazing.”

People are making the best of social distancing by getting outside while working. See if it boosts your creativity and wellbeing. Photo: Pixabay

We’re with you at Good Earth Plant Company, even though we’re way ahead of you. 

Scientific studies show nature is healing to our physical and mental health and reduces our stress levels. A National Academy of Sciences study showed people who walked for 90 minutes in nature (including parks) weekly have fewer negative thoughts and healthier brain activity than people who walked through urban environments. More research: people experienced a 50 percent increase in creativity after a few days on a hiking trip without any technology. Talk about working smarter and not harder! This is what summer is all about.

Now here we are dealing with illness stalking our wellbeing called the coronavirus. We left our workplaces, schools, favorite restaurants, and other gathering places back in March to shelter in place. Thankfully, Nature is drawing us back outside – and for a good reason.

Research from the University of Exeter in England found spending just two hours in nature each week are significantly more likely to report good health and high psychological wellbeing than those who don’t spend time in nature during an average week. It’s true for any gender, age, income level, and poor, and true even applied to people with chronic illness or disabilities.

Good Earth Plant Company enjoys our socially distanced meeting space at work – but any park or patio will do! Photo: Jim Mumford

We’re fortunate at Good Earth Plant Company. Our favorite new meeting space is in our shade house. We pull up chairs or benches or just turn over an empty container and sit down. We only use the conference room space when we absolutely have to and for only four or five of us max. The evidence is undeniable. Time in nature improves your health. So why not start now and make it your Summer Solstice 2020 resolution? Yes, it’s a real thing we made up at Good Earth Plant Company. Embrace your biophilic connection to nature and get the maximum benefits to your health and wellbeing, whether you’re trying to find a little bit of normal at work, or home, or some combination in between.

1.         Hold meetings outside. Nothing blows a nice summer day like being stuck in a dark depressing conference room. Why not move your meetings outside? Consider walking and talking during a stroll. If a group is too big to fit on a path or sidewalk, move it to a nearby park or plaza.

2.         Take your lunch break outside. Maybe you aren’t quite ready or able to hold in-person work meetings. At least stop eating lunch at your desk every day! Taking a break improves your focus and productivity, especially if you can get outside. You don’t have to go buy lunch. Take your lunch cooler to a park bench or drive to a pretty spot and enjoy a socially distanced summer day brightener. Formerly known as a “picnic”

3.       Work outside. Most people are out of the office anyway – who says you need to be inside? While your laptop and beach sand aren’t the best mix, technology makes it a lot easier to be productive and enjoy being outside at the same time. Working outside will help you get in your weekly nature prescription. Take your tablet, phone, or laptop outside to the back yard or a neighborhood park.

If you’ve got to be inside, get as much exposure to natural light as you can, and bring plants inside to provide the positive effects of nature.

4.       Bring the outdoors inside. If you really, truly can’t get outside, bring as much of summer in as you can. Open windows, or at least open blinds and curtains. If you don’t have a view outside, plan walking breaks past windows or into areas where there is maximum natural sunlight.

6.  Set your screensaver to a summer scene. When you can’t see your way to daylight at all in summer, at least set up your desktop screensaver with a beautiful summer scene: your favorite beach, mountains, national park, or anyway summer getaway. Scientific studies show looking at scenes of nature improves your mood and helps your brain function better at work.

7. Add more indoor plants! You didn’t think we’d forget this, did you? Whether you are working at home or in a traditional office space, you can increase healthy access to nature by bringing it indoors. It’s a great time of year to add some indoor plants. You aren’t blasting hot drying air from a heater and you’re getting lots of natural summer light. Your indoor plants will acclimate nicely.  Enjoy them at your desk all summer and they’ll be healthy enough to adjust as the weather turns to fall and winter. They will also keep you healthier by increasing humidity in the air.

If you need help bringing nature into your life wherever you’re making it work, Good Earth Plant Company is here to help whether it’s spring, summer, winter, or fall. We enrich people’s lives with plants. All you have to do is call us at 858-576-9300.