Nature Deprivation – Not Just For Kids
When’s the last time you spent time outdoors? Not just walking to your car after work, not going to the mailbox. Really outdoors, like in the woods, or by a creek, maybe on a mountain? Can’t remember? You’re not alone. In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv pointed our attention to the negative outcomes associated when children spend most of their developmental years indoors. And, not surprisingly, adults can feel the effects too.
Then and Now
Before the industrial revolution, the vast majority of the world’s population was engaged in agriculture. Nearly everyone existed outside. In the City Mouse, Country Mouse face off, poor City Mouse was WAY outnumbered. Today, in the US, about 80% of the population lives in urban centers. We work in cubicles, we shop in enclosed malls, we drive in air conditioned cars. Perhaps, we might have a plant on our desk.
What’s the big deal?
“Natural environments are more likely to promote positive emotions, and viewing and walking in nature have been associated with heightened physical and mental energy,” say Selhub and Logan in their book, Your Brain on Nature.
Research indicates that even limited exposure to nature can improve your immune system and reduce symptoms of diabetes, hypertension, depression and more!
So, if you manage a team, run a company or plan a meeting, is it too much of a leap to suggest these might be benefits you’d like to share with your employees or participants?
In light of our suggestion, we’ve put together just a few ideas for ways you can incorporate the outdoors and nature into your office or meeting:
Take your topic outdoors in 4 Easy Ways!
1. Move the Meeting Outdoors
Remember how excited you got when the teacher held class outside? Rather than sit around the conference table seven floors in the air, take it to the green space outside your building. Maybe there’s a picnic table? Or, find a grassy area, maybe bring a blanket or two, and circle up for a great discussion! If you’re at a resort or conference center, find different spots for your meet and greets or presenter Q&A’s.
2. Walk & Talks
For a smaller group conversation, grab your sneakers and head outdoors for a nice stroll. You might find that it opens up the discussion as people tend to be more forthcoming and vulnerable when shoulder to shoulder vs. face to face. In addition, this Walk & Talk format makes a perfect complement to break out sessions at a conference.
3. Hide & Seek
Either write your own scavenger hunt with a quick list of items or have us create an epic, riddle-filled hunt or amazing race just for you. Just get outside and have some fun with your team! You can use a local park or head to a walkable area of town with fun pockets of interest. Also, hunts are a great way to explore the locale if you’re hosting an out of town meeting or conference.
4. No tent required
Nothing takes you back to the days of summer camp quite like good old fashioned fun of field day games. Bat spin, sack races, tug of war and more. In fact, maybe you invite families along for the fun. Enjoy team building in the great outdoors, get your nature fix and create some playful connections.
What are some ways you’ve experienced the benefits of time spent outdoors in your own life? Have you thought of other ways you can extend those benefits to your employees or meeting participants? Share in the comments below!
For more ideas, give us a call at 855-TEAM-BLD or request a proposal using the contact form to the right.