Wellness Year Round – Take Me Outside!

In my last blog I introduced wellness tools. A wellness tool is something that we do to enhance our state of well-being. Luckily for nonprofit staff, these tools are often simple, effective, and inexpensive. Another tool to add to your wellness inventory is Ecotherapy.

Winter 2We are intimately connected to the planet, but we sometimes forget our connection to nature. The Industrial Revolution, the invention of electric light bulb, and other technological advances have led us to a place of “earth amnesia” where we forget, or do not prioritize, the enjoyment of nature and the outdoors. Increased urbanization with a lack of green spaces, a work day that extends beyond sunset, and technology like the Internet and iPhones keep us “on and inside”. Right now, so does winter!

Ecotherapy, Green Therapy, and Earth-Centred Therapy are hot topics in the field of wellness management. All of these terms refer to activities that bring us in contact with our planet Earth; in other words, activities that “Take Us Outside”. Numerous studies have shown many healing benefits of the outdoors including:

  • reduced anxiety, stress, and depression,
  • healing for those with addictions,
  • lessened symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorders,
  • improved overall mental & physical wellness.

“Take Us Outside” activities may or may not require a high level of physical intensity. Some examples are:

  • Sports like golf, soccer, or fishing in the summer and skiing, snowboarding, or skating in the winter.
  • Exercise like walking, running, hiking, or biking.
  • Chores like snow shoveling, yard work, or walking the dog.
  • Pastimes like reading a book outside, or having a picnic or a bonfire.

To make the most of the daylight and bring wellness to the workplace, “Take Us Outside” activities can be incorporated into the work day as well. Bundle up and try one of these ideas at your nonprofit organization:

  • Leave the office for lunch, even if you brought food, for a walk outside.
  • Try a “walking meeting”, especially if you will be talking about your community as you pass through it.
  • Include walking or biking in your commute.
  • Plan an outdoor staff activity or get outside with your clients!

How will you be getting outdoors this winter? Add your ideas in the comments!

by Christine Naidu and Sam Kriviak

Christine Naidu is a mother, educator, writer and working woman. She is a long-time Yoga student/teacher and a WRAP Works certified facilitator (http://www.wrapworksprogram.ca/).

Christine knows that life has joy, curveballs and the “shitake” can hit the fan. She is a work in progress and seeks to know thyself, uncover her calling, embrace discomfort, and keep taking leaps in life.