How Nature Indoors Can Inspire Your Senses, And Productivity
It’s winter, and it’s a balmy 65 degrees in Austin, Texas. While much of the U.S. is experiencing much cooler temperatures, I frequently use these breaks in the weather to work outside. I realize that living in a climate with traditionally mild winter weather may be a luxury for some. However, the desire and benefits of being with nature is common thread for many, regardless of the region of the world you live in. While I look for every reason to go outside to work, relax or recharge, there are just some days that the weather impacts how much time I can have an enjoyable experience outside.
For those days that weather keeps us indoors, here are some tips to utilize your five senses to boost your productivity at the workplace while intentionally integrating nature into your workday.
Views of Nature
While many of us don’t like feeling too cold, watching nature from the temperature controlled office can still provide positive results. Studies show that intentional glances at nature (nature spotting) can reduce stress, improve focus and help recharge your energy levels to complete your daily tasks. Whether or not you have an office with a view, stand up and take a 5-minute gaze out a window once every hour. Utilize a wellness app on your phone or watch to remind you to stand up and watch the snow fall, the birds play or the clouds race across the sky. If windows are not accessible, use your computer, tablet or smart phone to look at views of nature.
Sounds of Nature
We often don’t put a lot of thought on what sounds can help us be more productive at work. However, it should be easy to comprehend that hearing water flowing, waves crashing or birds singing can reduce stress levels and make us happier. Scientists are finding evidence that nature sounds at the workplace can increase focus and productivity as well. We are also blessed to have Julian Treasure as an Ozadi Inspirer. Julian is a sound and communication expert and has one of the Top 10 TED Talks of all time. In Julian’s TED Talk “The 4 ways sounds effects us,” he recommends 5 minutes of birdsong a day. Depending on your work environment and setting, choose the best method to listen to sounds of nature that inspire you to do your best work. I use the website and app Ecosounds.
Scents of Nature
Smell is one of our strongest senses and influencers. Olfactory bulbs connect directly to the parts of the brain that process emotion and learning. To illustrate, imagine seeing someone smelling fragrant flowers. Can you see the pleasant joy as they inhale the sweet aromas and then exhale with satisfaction? Now imagine smelling a not so pleasant scent, like rotten eggs. What emotions and expressions one might have from that encounter? Pleasant scents of nature can also boost productivity, enhance your mood and your immune system at the workplace. Lemon, Lavender, Jasmine, Rosemary, Cinnamon, and Peppermint all have energizing properties and can be used through essential oils or in their natural forms.
Touch of Nature
Huh? Do you want me to pet my plant at work? Not necessarily. However, touching or being in contact with natural materials like wood or textiles add to ‘coziness’ at the workplace. If you work at home or have a progressive workplace, there is nothing better for boosting your mood then to have your pet at your feet, on your lap or sometimes your desk. Check out Ozadi Inspirer Anneleen Callewaert’s pet bird that joins her frequently while she works.
Taste of Nature
Okay, this was the last of the senses that I thought of. How do we use our sense of taste to bring nature indoors? All of the nourishment we consume comes from nature in some form. Yet, writing this article is a good reminder to feed our bodies with healthy meals and snacks that give us energy and don’t slow down the brain. Staying hydrated is of upmost importance as well. There is no substitute for water, and if you mix some warm H2O with an herbal tea, you will get the boost you need to be at your mental peak during the work day.
The next time the weather keeps you from enjoying the benefits of nature outside, remember to take regular breaks to stand-up, walk to the window for nature spotting, take a few sips of your invigorating herbal tea and give some attention to your pet. Your mind, body and pet will be grateful.
What are some ways you bring nature indoors?
For more tips on bringing Nature into your indoor workspace, visit Ozadi.net.
Spring will soon arrive, and so will the 2019 SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Come check out Ozadi at the following workshops on Bring Creativity into your Work, Company, and Life and Nature at Work for Productivity, Health, and Fulfillment.
It’s time for the Nature of Work to be Working with Nature.
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