“I go to nature everyday for inspiration in the working day”Frank Lloyd Wright
As we wrestle with the challenges caused by the COVID pandemic, there are valuable questions being asked about how life needs to be different, if indeed that is possible. While much concern was given to the elderly and those with medical conditions in the initial fight against the pandemic, evidence is also pointing to the higher impact of the pandemic of those in inner cities with higher levels of pollution and often limited access to nature.
Is it now time to redress the balance between economic growth, the environment and public mental health? People are emerging from lockdown traumatised by the effects of spending so much time indoors. Is now the time to consider the physical and mental health trauma off those living in concrete jungles. How can we as individuals ensure that connection to nature is part of our everyday working lives? For without us coming to realise the value of nature to our wellbeing and without us seeking a connection to nature neither will the wider society. It will not value, protect and increase the green spaces in towns and cities or truly see the importance of nature in supporting public mental health.
Why is making space for nature in the working day important?
Spending time in nature has been shown to boost our immune systems and support good mental health. The COVID 19 pandemic has shown the importance of vitamin D in supporting our body’s immune systems and ultimately our ability to fight disease. The natural world and time outdoors must become a valuable partner in our everyday lives, not shut out or concreted over. Our health depends on it.
How to make space for nature in the working day?
So let’s think about the small steps that can be taken to find connection and partnership with nature in our everyday working lives.
Natural light and air
Working in light airy spaces lifts the spirit. If you work from home try to ensure your workspace is by a window, then you can control the light and air that enters the room.
Organise your journey to work, so that you are able to walk by a nature space, this would be a local park or a small community garden. One of my journeys to work took me past a Woodland. Except during winter, when my journey was in the dark, I would often stop for a quick walk at the end of the day.
What do you listen to while you travel to work? Are you stuck on a bus or the train? Why not download a nature app onto your phone and listen to bird song or the sound of a stream for a few minutes on your journey to work.
Find somewhere you can go for lunch. Is there a walk you can take that allows some contect with nature? Even better if you can find somewhere to sit outside for lunch. This does not have to be every day, but a lunch dose of vitamin D will have many benefits.
Did you know that looking at nature images can bring benefits? A seascape, woodland or sunrise are calming and help bring focus. Why not request that nature art is placed upon office walls?