Also (non-rhetorical here): Do people take coffee breaks anymore? I’m fairly certain they don’t, but the more candid ‘I’ve swapped Facebook breaks for outside fun’ didn’t flow as nicely.
And the message is all the same.
I’ve swapped my indoor work-break/brain-break for shoes OFF, brain-stimulating outdoor time.
If, by outdoor time you mean ‘standing (or supine’ing) outside your front door for 5-7 minutes at a stretch’—- which I do.
It’s amazing it’s taken me so long to realize this.
1) My body craves the sunshine.
It’s been sweltering in Texas for the past 6 months. As a result, I’d taken to hiding inside during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day (unless life conspires to teach me lessons outdoors) and snagging my outside-time in the dark predawn hour while wearing a headlamp. Now that it’s cooler my body craves the vitamin D. And, while I’ll venture to say much of this could be placebo effect (any science types out there?) it feels as though it’s helping! Outside, sunscreen-free, five minutes per day = reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, swifter recovery time and a panoply of other benefits I’m happy to reap.
2) It lessens my work-frazzle.
I’m renown for my ability to consume large amounts of caffeine and still slip easily into slumber. Caffeine doesn’t make me jittery and, as a result, for years I didn’t watch my consumption. I’ve realized, even if coffee wont exacerbate work-stress I’m experiencing it definitely doesn’t help. Carla + barefoot + standing in grass for 5 minutes = diminished stress and reduced mental fatigue (fatigue which can manifest itself in the form of I’m out of words. I cannot create another sentence. which is never good for a writertype).
outdoors and frazzle-free.
3) It’s a reboot for my creativity.
A few years ago The New York Times published a fantastic article about how walking outdoors sparks creativity. I believe this. I’ve experienced this. I do not have time during the workday to amble freely for 30 minutes. I’ve discovered 5 or 6 minutes outside, grounding and connecting with nature reboots the creative piece of my cranium. I focus on tuning out from my monkey-mind and tuning in to sounds around me. Be they birds chirping, kids playing or even a garbage truck zooming by–new sounds and sensations refill my word-tank and reinvigorate my creativity.
Shoes off. Creativity on.
I realize my work-life is fairly accommodating when it comes to implementing something like this, but short stints of outside time can work no matter your office setting.
A few minutes outside makes for a more productive rest of the day—something which any boss can’t argue with.
One caveat: Do not be like my friend who, after hearing me yammer how rejuvenating my outdoor-breaks are, decided to launch her practice in the workplace courtyard.
She left her shoes in the office.
She eagerly exited her building.
She allowed the door to slam shut behind her and found herself (blissed out and) locked out when she was finished.
And probably *required* coffee after the whole ordeal was done.
- Does your workplace still routinely employ coffee breaks?
- Could you slip outside for a few minutes each day?