As we head into a new phase in the COVID era, one which delivers an increase of vaccinations and the opportunity to see friends and family again, I want to acknowledge all of you in our profession who have been managing your jobs and personal lives. Thank you for all that you’re doing.
We’re heading toward the heart of the summer, which means barbecues, family vacations and hopefully special moments with loved ones. Now that summertime is approaching, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and get outside with intention.
Here are four reasons why it’s important.
1 – We need our Vitamin D. It’s easy, especially for those of us working from home, to stay inside all day. It is important to get outside every day for our Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Recommendation: One of the best ways to get Vitamin D is to be out in the sunshine. If you can spend even 10 or 15 minutes per day outside in the sun, you’ll get that Vitamin D intake and you’ll feel so much better. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!
2 – While you’re getting Vitamin D, you might notice that you feel more creative by being outside. Have you ever been out in nature when an idea suddenly popped in your brain? There’s a study by Stanford University that says that walking can help increase creativity by up to 60 percent!
Recommendation: As PR professionals, we are constantly brainstorming new ideas. Next time you need to get creative around strategic planning or writing new story angles, get outside with a pen and notebook that fits in your pocket, get moving, and get those juices flowing.
3 – Being outside can reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time around trees and nature helps reduce my stress, makes me feel less anxious, and ultimately puts me in a better mood. There’s research behind this as well!
Recommendation: This summer, identify parks, forests or greenspaces that you can access within minutes so you can take a call or spend a well-earned break by yourself. Not near a park? Find a nursery or garden center close by. You will thank me later!
4 – New research from Microsoft titled “Research Proves Your Brain Needs Breaks” has shown that joining fewer back-to-back video meetings can have a positive impact on your stress levels. This means that for every meeting you have on video, the following should be audio-only. And what better way to conduct such a meeting than by being outside!
Recommendation: Every week, look ahead to your series of meetings. Identify those meetings that are on video and turn as many meetings as possible to audio-only. Also, schedule short breaks to reduce as many back-to-back meetings as possible. Do it not just for yourself but for your participants as well.
Have a wonderful summer, everyone. Be safe. Be kind. Be well.