5 Top Mental and Emotional Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature for Better Leadership

Now that the weekend is here it’s important for you, as a leader, to take time to recharge and refresh, so to speak, so that you have the fortitude to be a strong leader your team – or business – needs. This is self-care at it’s highest level.

When you were a child, you may have been told to get up and go outside for a while. Whether from a well-meaning parent or a teacher (remember recess?), you probably connected that idea with exercise and the health benefits of spending time out of the house.

But did you know that there are many mental and emotional health benefits in getting back to nature? Being in natural air and sunshine elevates our dopamine and serotonin, thus improving our mood.

Let’s look at other benefits from being outside:

  1. You feel less stress. Spending time in green spaces, whatever the case, has been shown to lower your blood pressure. Your heart beats slower, and even your respiration becomes more even and natural. In short, your body relaxes, and the effects of stress fade away. Plants and trees exude oxygen which leads to proper breathing and relaxation.

The good news? The effects are long-lasting. Studies have shown that spending time in a forest on the weekend helps lower stress levels for up to 7 days following the event. The Japanese recognizes this value as they even have tree-hugging forests!

2. You feel more alert. If you frequently find yourself trapped in brain fog, the quickest way to clear your head might be to step outside. Finding a green space – a quick walk in a park or trek out to the country – leaves you feeling alert. Being in nature is a great brain-energizer that can be used throughout the day as a quick pick-me-up.

3. You’re better able to cope. When you’re dealing with stress, depression, or anxiety getting outside can seem a little daunting. But if you can give yourself that extra push to get out the door, your body will thank you for it. It’s a proven fact that the effects of both depression and fatigue both dramatically improve when you’re able to spend time in nature (and sunshine).

4. Your focus improves. Feeling overwhelmed at work and unable to think? Try a nature break on the weekend. Remember, spending some significant time enjoying nature over the weekend has a long-lasting impact, as mentioned above. So that long hike on Saturday might be what you need to focus better in the week ahead.

5. You become more creative. Nature inspires you to think out of the box. A rather interesting study that had people spend time outside for four days found that they performed 50% better on creative problem-solving challenges afterward.

Years ago, walking meetings were a ‘thing’ – why not bring them back with your team, as this can help relax and energize them. It can also build relational bonds among you and the team and fostering creative solutions to work goals.

With the mental and emotional health benefits of spending time outside so obvious, it’s no wonder our parents wanted us to get outside when we were kids (and you thought they were trying to get rid of you!). With so much good in store for you, isn’t it time you got out of the house? Make this a regular routine to decompress from one week to another and  leave you feeling ready to lead in the new.

“Nature is the greatest place to heal and recharge.” (unknown)

Invest in your leadership growth and development = unleash your full potential to leave a lasting impact on your organization. Reach out to learn more.

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