Outdoor mental health breaks are an important way to feel better at work. Studies show that going outdoors and walking around helps improve mood, concentration, and overall well being. Working from home during the pandemic led many to take outdoor breaks and walks. Now with many people having to return to the workplace, hybrid or full time, it is a good idea to try to keep up with those outdoor breaks.
Walking for Mental Health
If you are back to the office, consider taking a short walk around your building or the parking lot. We have clients who tell us they walk every day around the parking lot at work. When covid hit, I (Dr. Marion) got into the habit of walking a mile during lunch. It doesn’t take long and the benefits are amazing. Instead of feeling sleepy after a light lunch, I feel energized. Plus there is the added bonus of getting to know some of the new neighbors on my street who are either out walking themselves or are waiting for their kids’ school bus (my lunch break is later in the day).
Sitting for Mental Health?
Most people sit while having lunch. Why not find a nice spot outside where you can sit and eat? Just sitting outside and observing whatever is around you–plants, sky, birds, grass, even people watching, can be a tension reliever. Many office buildings have outdoor sitting areas as well as nice landscaping. Take advantage of whatever is available to you.
Brief Outdoor Mental Health Breaks
So what if you are not able to get outside to take a walk or even sit outdoors to have your lunch? It could be that your job is too demanding, you have meetings, no breaks, and loads of stress. If that is the case, then as you leave your car to go inside or as you leave work to go home, take a moment to really notice the sky above you, the ground you walk on , notice the weather, bird song, and everything that is around you.
This may not sound like much, but studies show that mindful attention (which is what you would be doing), is calming and good for mood and the nervous system. Paying attention to where you are, and when that is in Nature, is good for the soul.
Paying attention to where you are and grounding yourself in the present moment is mindfulness. By staying in the present moment we are not worrying about the future or regretting the past. There are many ways to ground yourself in the present moment (breathing is commonly used).
Outdoor Mental Health Breaks
So take a mental health break when you can. When you are outdoors, notice your surroundings, mindfully breathe the air, and allow yourself to be in the present moment. If you can sit outside or even better, take a walk, try to do that a few times a week. You will likely notice that you are feeling just a little bit better.
If you feel you are having problems finding balance and would like to learn more on how to improve your mental health care, give us a call or send an email (908-857-4422 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Schedule an appointment by clicking the Book Now button. There you will see our availability for the next two months and you may choose the time and day that work best for you.
For information about Nature and Mental Health see Dr. Marion’s blog here: Nature as a Natural Healer
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