bring nature into office

How Nature Can Free Your Mind From the Confines of a Cubicle

bring nature into office

Buddha and Candles Photo via Shutterstock

By Aimee Millwood

An office environment can nourish and support the human spirit as much as it can deny and suppress it. If our offices are humane, loving, and sacred, then what is produced in those offices will have a sense of humanity and integrity… The act of turning the places where we work into places that we love, can transform our own lives, and will in turn positively affect the lives of everyone around us. –Denise Linn 

As spring blossoms, resist falling into the grips of workplace depression as you stare out the window to a beautiful sunny day. It’s natural to feel cooped up, sluggish and uninspired: historically, humans spent most of the day outside connected to the land and a supportive, uncompetitive community. Unfortunately, it seems we have not yet adapted to life spent in the confines of a cubicle. Our brains are naturally wired to want to soak up the sun rather than the light from our laptop. A great solution to this modern problem is to get more fresh air and spend less time in the office. While many offices around the globe are adopting the policy of shorter workweeks, it’s not always possible to be outside when you need to work.

Here are a few tips on greening the office:

Think light. Your eyes were designed to see natural landscapes, not to stare at an artificially lit MacBook for eight or more hours per day. Most of us are familiar with that eyes-glazed-over feeling that inevitably hits mid-afternoon, hampering productivity and causing so much strain that it can actually lead to short and long-term eye issues. So how can you adjust your environment to create a healthier space? Most importantly, dim the light settings on your desktop. Add a splash of light that simulates natural light with full-spectrum lighting or sun lamps, or be brave enough to ask for a different seat that is close to a window.

Add some greenery. There is no better way to bring outdoor elements in than with plants. If you’re put off by the thought of taking care of a plant when you are already hampered by deadlines, air plants are a great low-maintenance option for adding a splash of green to your desk area.

Water, water, everywhere. One of our favorite ideas for soothing your indoor environment is the use of small water fountains made from organic materials. The sight of flowing water gently gurgling through a fountain calms the mind and adds one of nature’s most powerful elements to your workspace.

De-clutter your desk. Get rid of unnecessary items and rearrange your cubicle using Feng Shui principles. Cubicle Feng Shui offers examples of  beautiful ways to redesign your cubicle that are practical and easy.

You’ve got to move it, move it. Although it’s helpful to imitate natural settings indoors, there’s no better alternative to a balanced lifestyle than actually being outside. Take lunch outdoors and make phone calls outside whenever possible, so you can soak in some vitamin D and get a breath of fresh air. Sitting for too long is seriously detrimental to your health and well being. So get up, breathe, and find a spot where the only noise you’ll hear is the soothing song of birds.


aimee milwood 150x150 Less is More When it Comes to the Four Day WorkweekABOUT THE WRITER

Aimee Millwood is a writer with wanderlust who currently lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received her BA in Literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She believes everyone has a story to tell and is interested in the use of personal narrative to give voice to people whose stories are not always heard. She credits growing up in both Hawaii and Georgia with her constant desire to explore the concept of home and how places shape who we become. Although she has spent the past two years traveling in South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, she believes a physical trip is not the only means of travel – at times, just the wind on your face during a long drive or the scent of a campfire can rejuvenate the soul. You can check out more of her work on her blog,

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