Relieving Stress with an Outdoors Office
Working within any job everyone understands that, the more senior you become, the more time you spend indoors, sat behind a desk. My own progression through the outdoor learning sector has followed this exact same path. When I first started out, I was instructing others and spending at least 7 hours a day working outside. As I became more and more senior, I started to spend more time sat at my desk, working to allow others to spend more and more time working outdoors, whilst I then planned their next programme. With the increased desk time, came increased responsibility and increased stress!
The shear number of people I now encounter who suffer with stress due to work is quite astonishing. I too have been in positions where the pressure of what I have been working on has led to sleepless nights, after being locked into my office of four walls and a computer screen for hours on end. But then one day, I realised it doesn't have to be like that. We spend a huge amount if time promoting the benefits of learning outside, but whats stopping us from gaining those same benefits by working outside ourselves? We have laptops which are designed to not tether us to a desk. We have have mobile phones, WiFi and mobile tethering, which allow us to be productive when we're not sat in an office. Technology doesn't have to bind us, but can instead be the key to giving us our lives back.
If you think about it, our bodies crave the outdoors. How many times have you sat in an office on a lovely summers day, wishing you were outside? The outdoors also provides us with positive natural distractions, rather than negative man-made ones. Replacing the sound of office telephones, tapping keyboards and artificial light with bird song, the wind in the trees and natural sunlight allows us the chance to take mini breaks for our mind, so that we don't burn it out. Think about is like lots on mini cool downs after exercise, to prevent long term injury, and you're on the right track.
So, now you're liking the idea of getting outside to work more, here's a few tips to get you on your way:
1. Make sure you're laptop is setup to work outdoors - Ideally it should have a long battery life, anti-glare screen. Even better if it's one specifically designed to use outdoors.
2. Stay connected - Most of us need to use the internet, access emails or take phone calls at various points in the day, so make sure you either have acce
ss to a WiFi signal or suitable mobile phone with a tethering function (obviously makes sure you have a good phone signal too). Remember there are free WiFi hotspots all over the country, so search your local area.
3. Chose your spot - Look at somewhere that works and is available for you. Working in a park or woodland can be great, but it can be just as relaxing working in your own garden on your patio table. Also, try standing up, using a tall table. If your based in a city office, look for a local park or just find some greenery around your building, where you can sit and work - Outside seating at coffee shops can be great.
4. Stay shady - Sitting in full sun is great when you want a tan, but trying to work in it isn't. Bright sunlight can make it difficult to see a screen and strain your eyes, as you squint to see it, so try and find a shady spot.
5. 30 Minutes is better than 0 minutes - You don't need to work outside all day and it can be very difficult, unless your equipment is really well setup for it. However, just short bursts working on something outside can have a hugely positive impact and allows that time to escape the stress and focus your mind.
We spend our lives often teaching others that young people in school are more productive, more focused and more in control when they learn outdoors. Maybe it's time we all learnt from that and applied it to our own office lives.