120 minutes.  You may be thinking to yourself: “what is this arbitrary number, and why should I care?”  Well, 120 minutes can have a positive impact on your health and psychological wellbeing; that is, if you spend that amount of time in green spaces a week.  With our current circumstances, you may feel limited in your ability to go outside.  Instead of becoming frustrated, I encourage us all to think of ways we can experience the great outdoors and improve our outlook and restore our faith.  For me, this has meant digging out my old relic push lawn mower as I have now opted to take care of my garden and cut the grass myself.  In doing so, I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment and exercise that I otherwise wouldn’t have had had I not been spending more time at home as a result of COVID-19. 

As the weather continues to get nicer and the days get longer, this is the perfect time to encourage your employees to spend more time in nature.   For this reason, I’ve created a list of five ways you can help your employees improve their wellbeing by benefiting from the positive effects of nature.

Build a garden

With people spending more time at home these days, now is the perfect time to build a flower or vegetable garden.  There are many benefits associated with gardening, including exposure to vitamin D, mood-boosting benefits and exercise, not to mention the healthy food or beautiful sights these gardens can bring!  The best part is that even if you don’t have access to a yard or balcony, you can even build a makeshift garden in a small pot.

Bring plants into your home

Some people may still be uncomfortable spending prolonged periods of time outside their home.  If that’s the case, let nature come to them!  Indoor plants can add life to home offices and indoor spaces.  Not only is there a visual appeal to having them, but indoor plants can actually boost air quality in homes, and also increase productivity for employees. 

Take a nature walk

With the nice weather here, your employees may be tempted to head to the local park or beach to catch some rays.  As we’ve recently seen, some parks and beaches have experienced overcrowding, thus making it difficult to practice proper social distancing.  Instead, I recommend encouraging your employees to go for walks around their neighbourhood or local trails.  This way, they will also benefit from physical exercise instead of being sedentary.

Collect rocks

Several communities across the country have participated in this activity that involves collecting rocks, painting them, and placing them around the neighbourhood for all to see.  This is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy, especially if your employees are looking for activities to keep their children occupied.  In addition, they’ll benefit from exercise, creativity, and spreading positivity.

Make a bird feeder

If you’re accustomed to taking nature walks, you already know some of the amazing wildlife you can come across during your strolls.  Making a bird feeder is another fun activity that can bring the family together, and bring beautiful birds right to your lawn for you to admire.  A UK study even found that people living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.

As you can see, there are several ways we can still enjoy the calming and grounding benefits of nature without putting ourselves at risk in overcrowded outdoor spaces.  Remember, your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) is a great resource for all employees to take advantage of, now and in the future. For additional tips and resources, you may also consider referring them to Aspiria’s  COVID-19 Toolkit.