With an outdoor business, I think about the outdoors and nature a lot. But lately I’ve been thinking about it even more as the Pacific Northwest is about to be hit with what could be the biggest storm in 50 years. Buckets of rain and hurricane winds mean my 5 kids will be inside. With me. ALL weekend.
No sending them outside to get dirty, no mid-day breaks in the sun. I’m sure there will be some longing looks out the window before the end of this one.
Unfortunately, I know for many people extended indoor time is not just a one weekend phenomenon but an everyday reality. An illness lands you in bed for too long. You are chained to your office desk more hours than you would like… Although the outdoors is about the best place to be, you just can’t be there all the time.
Luckily we have the opportunity to bring a little bit of the great outdoors into our own indoor spaces. All those benefits of nature? You can still have ’em. So although I advocate getting out as much as you can, these tips are the next best thing.
Add a Little Green to Your Day
Maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of plants indoors because they purify the air? Well having plants indoors can also help boost your concentration, improve your health and just enjoy your day.1
If you can’t get outside for the real thing you can still improve your indoor experience by adding plants. Its best if you can add a large one or at least make sure that everyone in the room can see a little green.
Ok now I know some of you are saying “I can’t keep a plant alive!”. Well I completely understand because I could probably kill a houseplant just by looking at it. I would suggest starting with a succulent like Aloe or other plant that does not need much water. Here and here are good lists of beginner plants for the reformed plant killer.
Sit near a window
If you want to get a bit more shuteye this is the tip for you! Sitting near a window can boost your sleep time each night by about 45 minutes. Your body is attuned to the light cycle of day and night so sitting in a dark room for most of the day can throw off your sleeping habits.2 Just the simple act of getting a little more window time during your day will help with this regulation and you will get those extra Zs you’ve been looking for.
Sitting near a window can also give you all the health benefits we talked about for houseplants if you have a good view of the greenery outside.
Turn up the Sound
How about trading your favorite radio station for some ambient nature sound like ocean waves? Studies show that listening to waves and similar ambient sounds decrease muscle tension and heart rate. People also reported less stress. And who doesn’t want less stress?
The results are quick too! People reported results from the music in as little as 5 to 7 minutes so turn up your favorite nature sounds and let’s get working!3 You can easily find forest sounds, ocean waves, or rain on your favorite music streaming service like Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon.
Let’s Get Creative
If you have a restless kids indoors why not try adding nature lessons. Bringing nature inside like pine cones, leaves, or sticks helps their creativity, gives them some good tactile activities and really sparks curiosity. Kids love to get outside and exploring but you can still have some of that adventure even if you can’t take a field trip.
You could create an animal out of leaves, make a paintbrush from pine needles, or stamp class with pine cones and acorns. So many amazing ideas to keep kids and adults busy! There are some pretty awesome art ideas I would like to create for myself. You can check out these ideas and more on our Nature Art Pinterest board.
Of course we never suggest trading outdoor time for these tricks. The UV light your body needs for vitamin D won’t pass through windows and there are plenty of other outdoor benefits that you just have to experience outside. But if you really just can’t find the time or there is a back log at work, these are quick ways to get the boost of nature the outdoors offer while still being inside.
Try some of these tricks today to increase your productivity and improve your life. Very easy and quick and we would love to hear how you put them into your indoor routine.
- Scientific America “Houseplants Make you Smarter”
- Bloomberg “You are Losing Sleep Just by Sleeping in a Windowless Cubicle”
- Fast Co Design “Want to be More Productive? Listen to the Sounds of Nature”