It’s so easy to get distracted these days and spend all of your time inside. After all, it’s inside where we sleep, mostly where we eat, and definitely where we work. It’s where we spend our downtime, cuddled on the couch. It’s where we spend family time, gathered around a board game.
As spring brings back the bright sunshine and fresh, warmer air though, are the outdoors calling to you?
While it’s hard to break our routines, being outside has connections to your mood, health, and even how you sleep at night. So, instead of always finding something else to get done in the office, or in your house, put your routine on pause, open the front door, and get out there. You’ll be glad you did.
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling stuck. You can’t get past a task on your daily to-do list, or a work project just isn’t coming together. Feeling like you’re not going to move forward in your day leads to stress and a sense of being rushed to catch up.
To prevent all that, go outside. Taking a 10-15 minutes walk can provide you with the change of scenery you need to calm down and refocus. Sometimes not thinking about something is the best way to figure out your way through it.
If you can spend 20 minutes out in the sunshine even better. Studies show that being outside for that long can give your brain a jolt of energy that’s similar to a cup of coffee.
While the change of scenery of being outdoors can improve focus, it can also stimulate creativity. A correlation exists between improved problem-solving abilities and time spent out in nature.
A quick trip outdoors engages your attention in a different way than your work does. Nature is quieter and more subtle. Even if you can only take a few minutes among the trees or landscaping in your office park, this quiet time can help restart your brain and give you a new perspective on whatever issue is holding you up inside.
Reduce your stress
Perhaps the best part of being in nature is the way it sucks out all your stress. Whether you’re out on a walk, or simply sitting outside, the outdoors can help fight anxiety and depression by reducing your stress levels.
It’s also a good idea, when feeling low, to get out into some natural sunlight. Especially if your day keeps you far away from windows, sunlight is commonly known to improve your mood. Combine it with a little light exercise, or movement, if you can, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for lifting stress.
Improve your overall health
The outdoors is also one of the best places to exercise, weather permitting. Taking your workout outside gives you an ever-changing venue for your run, walk, or even for some yoga in the park. You’ll always see something different, which makes it easier to stay motivated as you move.
While you’re working out, you’re also back in that amazing sunshine, which is good for your bones and your immune system. The more sun you safely get, with plenty of sunscreen on, the more Vitamin D your body produces.
Being outdoors may also lower your blood pressure and take away aches and pains. To maintain healthy blood levels, most people need between 10-13 minutes of midday sun, only a few times per week. That’s manageable if you commit to doing it.
The sun can even help you get better sleep at night. Exposure to light helps our bodies regulate our internal clocks. It gives us the information we need to know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to go to sleep. Especially if you can expose yourself to early morning sunlight, you may find yourself falling asleep more easily, and actually staying asleep through the night.
Use the outdoors to your advantage
You may think that taking a break to go outside is a luxury you can’t afford. You have to get things done….right now. But, with all the benefits taking a few minutes outdoors can give you, it’s almost more detrimental to hide away from the sun.
This spring, make a point of spending just a little time each day outside, without the distraction of screens, and see if it makes a difference. Even if you can only catch moments walking from your car into a store, or standing outside while you pump gas, enjoy the calm of the fresh air. It helps.