Spending time outdoors for good health is nothing new: Some of the world’s greatest authors, artists, and scientists credit their health and inspiration to nature. Henry David Thoreau wrote in his essay Walking, “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”
But, like many people, you probably feel like you don’t have enough time to get outside every day. The key is to shift your perspective. Instead of thinking, “I only have 5 minutes before the next meeting, I might as well just stay here,” think, “I have 5 minutes to get a breath of fresh air!”
That 5 minutes won’t just positively impact your health; it might make or break your afternoon at work. Time spent in nature is associated with better creativity and problem solving, after all.
Here are a few ways to add more nature to your life, even when you only have a few minutes.
If you have less than 10 minutes…
- Take a walk around one block wherever you are.
- Slip off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the grass (or the snow!)
- Turn your face up to the sun (but close your eyes or wear sunglasses).
- Stop to smell a flower.
- Open a window and gaze outside.
If you have half an hour…
- Take a walk, preferably somewhere green, like a local park.
- Eat your lunch outside.
- Phone a friend while sitting outside.
If you have an hour or more…
- Go for a hike if you can! Wooded areas offer even more health benefits.
- Explore a new part of town and go looking for public art.
- Spend some time by a body of water.
- Start or work on a garden.