If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that being outside is a straight up luxury. After being stuck indoors for what felt like an eternity, we soon realised how much we missed the deep inhalation of that sweet, outside air. Yep, being cooped up indoors 24/7 isn’t doing any wonders for our mental wellbeing.
Remember how your mum was always at you to go and play outside instead of becoming a vampire indoors? Turns out that advice actually holds up. Spending time outdoors does great things for your mental wellbeing like stress reduction and mood elevation which we could all definitely benefit from right now. If you’re not making a bolt for the front door right now, you should be.
Humans love being outside so damn much that people in Japan have created something called shinrin yoku or ‘forest bathing’. As the name implies it’s basically encouraging you to get amongst nature and drink in that beautiful fresh air. Studies have shown it also has a range of benefits like improving happiness, the immune system as well as our physical and psychological recovery. So, if you’ve ever wanted to live out your Bella/Edward forest fantasies from Twilight – go right ahead and reap those benefits.
We could all use some more nature in our lives and it’s high time we took ourselves outdoors in our free time. Luckily, it’s really easy to incorporate it into our daily routine which means spending more time outdoors and less time developing cabin fever. Yep, even if you’re on the 9-5 grind, you can still incorporate these into your day. Now go lap up that vitamin D you good thing (just remember to practise that sweet sun safety).
Quit eating al-desko
Lunch is that glorious time of day where you can chow down and give your poor eyes a break from all the screen time. If you’re known to draw the blinds and hit up Netflix during your lunch break, you should stop at once. Take your salad to the local park or walk to a cafe and grab a sandwich to go. Any way you can leave the confines of your office is crucial during your midday break. There are a zillion benefits to eating lunch outside like improving memory, boosting your mental wellbeing and cognitive fuction, not to mention giving you the sheer willpower to smash the rest of the day like a champ.
This doesn’t just apply to the working week either. If you’ve got brunch scheduled with some friends but aren’t really vibing an indoor cafe situation, why not suggest a cute picnic at a park? You could even follow it up with a beach walk or a hike if you’re really feeling at one with nature.
Do the walkie talkie
If you’re scheduled for an informal meeting, a freelance pitch that doesn’t require you to be at a computer or even a casual chinwag with your rents, why not take it outside? Lace up the old walking shoes and go for a 20-minute walk while you chat business. It’ll get the heart rate up, energise your brain and give your body a chance to reboot after being stuck inside. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown sprint; in fact, you could even sit outside on a park bench. As long as you’re getting fresh air and vit D, all is well. Bonus points if you’re in a green space. Plus, Steve Jobs swore by walking meetings, so you know it’s the real deal.
Shape up your work spot
There’s this weird perception that you need to be sitting at a desk to do your job. Right? Wrong. The laptop was invented to give us mobility with our work and it’s about time we started taking advantage of it. Whether you spend most of your day at your work desk or the dining room table – shaking it up from time to time can be really beneficial.
If you have a few emails to reply to that can be done on your phone or laptop, you can park yourself under a nice tree and do the deed from there. The beauty of working from home is that we’ve come to realise just how flexible it can be. Gone are the days of being hunched behind a desk for 8 hours straight – as long as you’ve got a device and internet connection, you’re a free agent.
Capitalise on coffee
Most of us would gladly ingest coffee through an IV drip because we love it so much, but just how smart are you being about your coffee run? You might be guilty of getting your morning coffee in the office lobby, or walking across the road for it only to return to your desk minutes later. Take your coffee run as an excuse to get some steps in. Go for a stroll around the block, take a longer route to get there or even try a new coffee shop that’s a little further away – the promise of caffeine is motivation enough to get you there.
If you’re one of those people who has taken the plunge and invested in a coffee machine – power to you. Don’t worry though, you’re not excluded from the coffee run club. You can still make your coffee at home, throw it in a reusable cup and go for a walk around the block. You don’t have to be dropping dosh daily on a morning brew to enjoy it outdoors – it’s just about putting the effort in to switch it up.
Tilt your eyes to the sky
Most of us are either early birds or night owls and come to life in the AM or the PM. Copping a load of the sunrise or sunset is the perfect way to start your day (depending which one you are). If you need a little convincing on the benefits, let us count them. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles so taking it in when possible is always a bonus (just remember to slip, slop, slap first). Watching the sunrise/sunset also establishes a great daily routine, reduces stress and overall just brings you joy. Sounds like a sweet deal.
If your job requires you to get up early, consider getting up that little bit earlier and watch the world come to life. If you usually knock off around 5pm then sunset could be a great option for you. Make it a priority each day to watch the sun in some form (whether it’s saying hello or goodbye). It’s a great time to practice mindfulness by starting and ending your day with gratitude (which we know is great for mental wellbeing), while igniting all the senses of your body (especially those peepers because it’s pure magic on the eyes). Just remember to throw some shades on first before copping a look cause y’know, safety first.
Cash you ousside.