In a few weeks, another open enrollment season will be upon us. Benefits communications professionals here at Trion will brainstorm ways to persuade your employees to register for benefits.

Yet pushing out similar content each year is a drain to both the writers and the audience. Shaking up the content is necessary to make sure the message comes through loud and clear. But how to clear those mental cobwebs and spark that creativity? A change of scenery is just the thing!

Sitting is the new smoking

You may have heard siting is the new smoking. That phrase seems like an exaggeration, yet many studies show the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and health risks, like:

  • Greater risk of colon cancer
  • Greater risk of diabetes
  • Greater risk of obesity
  • Increased back and neck pain

Not good! Yet Americans self-report their activity levels are currently their lowest point.

Taking short breaks to stand and walk around the office is a good first step to get up and moving. Ideally, you should at least stand up and stretch every hour.

But there is a way to get the benefits of motion that will boost both your physical and mental well-being. All you need to do is step outside.

Take control of your health

Walking in nature is the ideal inverse to sitting in your cubicle for eight or more hours each day. It can lower those risks for cancer, obesity and diabetes. Besides the obvious physical perks, studies show waking outdoors brings mental health benefits, like:

  • Less risk of anxiety
  • Less risk of depression
  • Less self-reported stress

No matter your industry, I know you’re busy . Time fills with deadlines, projects, meetings and the endless to-do list. But as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise produces  positive effects on your mood and psychological health.

If that does not convince you, here’s the kicker: Being outside spurs creativity and decision-making ability. In other words, it can make you better at your job.

Spark creativity

I came up with the idea for this blog post during a walk. Exposure to nature improves your ability to think expansively. It can be the perfect way to spark a new concept that revives those employee communications.

Being in a natural environment also replenishes our ability to problem-solve and multitask. It also boosts attention span. Writers and editors will be especially pleased to hear that exposure to nature can lead to improvements in proofreading. Sounds like what the doctor ordered during the chaos called open enrollment season!

Heading outside for a few minutes during the work day can also make you a better colleague. It boosts feelings of connectedness, making community and generosity priorities over personal advancement. Walking outside also helps us be less impulsive and more focused on the future. This technique is useful when we set long-term goals, like strategic plans for our organizations.

Not everyone works an office where green space is easily accessible. A task as simple as placing a few plants around your workspace can boost mental health. Yet the most benefits come with physical activity. So if there’s no walking trail or park near your office, take the time to find one close to home. Spending a few minutes there will spark your creativity.

 

 

Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications Danielle.Love@trion-mma.com