I recently traveled to Australia to visit family, and I was struck by the extent to which they live outdoors. Almost all restaurants have outside seating, and many interior spaces are open-air. Walking and biking are common and encouraged by good footpaths and bike lanes. Though Australia is experiencing increasing problems with obesity, there still seems to be a focus on activity and being outside.
Michigan weather won’t allow me to live an Australian lifestyle, but I can certainly get outside more often. And when I’m not physically in the great outdoors, I can spend time observing nature from the coziness of home or office. I was surprised to read that just gazing at nature can improve productivity. Researchers at the University of Melbourne (coincidentally, where I spent most of my time in Australia) have found that “engaging in these green microbreaks—taking time to look at nature through the window, on a walk outside or even on a screen saver—can be really helpful for improving attention and performance in the workplace.”
Humanergy’s Karen Weideman continued regular walks last winter, despite the cold and snow. She reported not only feeling better, but really appreciating the subtleties of winter wonders – sparkling snow, crisp air and fluffy clouds. So don’t just gaze out the window thinking, “Gloom!” Find the beauty in the season. Or follow KW’s advice. Get dressed for the weather and enjoy the great outdoors.
Want to find out more about the benefits of being in or looking at the outdoors? Read about it here. Better yet, change your view (even if it’s just a nature screenshot) or get outside and find out first-hand!
Want other practical ideas to boost productivity? Talk to us.
Photo by dlco4 on Flickr.