Bring nature indoors

wellness at work traditional style home-office

Bring nature indoors

There cannot be a soul who doesn’t find time outdoors in the country enjoyable and of course it will stimulate creativity. Fresh air and exercise in a green environment is beneficial to both mind and body. Use the therapeutic properties of plants and welcome them into your home to bring a positive effect to your wellbeing. Plants have a restorative effect as they are refreshing both to our vision and the air we breathe.

Be mindful of the scents we introduce…

“Strong odours, fumes or perfume often mean the presence of potentially harmful chemicals – keep working areas well ventilated with fresh air and encourage those responsible for workplace cleanliness to ensure environmentally-friendly products are used” Chris Billinghurst, Eco Chic Interiors.

Unlit candles are a good way to enjoy scent just when you need it. Keep the candle in an airtight container and lift the lid when you are ready for a hit! I asked Louise Cox, who makes delicious scented candles, to give me her favourites:-

“Lime is very uplifting and is said to improve concentration, so it’s great when deadlines are approaching. A recent study in the US has shown that the scent of coffee can have a calming effect, so before that important meeting breathe in your coffee and relax! And when the mid-afternoon slump hits you turn to zesty scents like orange, lemon and grapefruit to invigorate the mind and get you back on track.” Louise Cox, Kiss-Air Candles

Studies have shown that growing plants in the office can help to clean the air and improve physical and mental health. This neatly designed office tidy from Fabrica, called Statera, plays on the idea of balance and harmony.

Wellbeing plant pot with computer Staterastatera photographer Marco Zanin

PEPPERMINT: Enhances memory. Research has shown that sniffing Peppermint can increase your alertness and enhance your memory. When compared with exposure to other ambient odours, Peppermint showed a visible increase in word recall accuracy (Herz, 1997). It can also help suppress your appetite.

LEMON BALM: Improves mood. Through recent studies it has been understood that Lemon Balm’s sweet smell does show a clear mood enhancement by raising levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical linked to mood and behaviour. It has also been found that Lemon Balm can improve cognitive performance.

GARDENIA: Stimulates brain. The olfactory bulb, a part of the brain that detects scent, is particularly close to the area dealing with emotions which are often associated with odours. The smell of a Gardenia effects emotions, can improve your outlook and is good to keep in a stressful environment.

AFRICAN VIOLET: Reduces stress. Having flowering plants in the purple family, like African violets, on your desk can improve your creativity as it stimulates the release of adrenaline. Purple also triggers the release of endorphins which can ease stress and improve your mood.

ENGLISH IVY: Increases concentration. English Ivy absorbs and chemically neutralizes benzene, a colourless toxin emitted by some paper products and office equipment. English Ivy can help you stay focused as benzene can slow thinking and break concentration by disrupting the central nervous system.

GOLDEN POTHOS: Prevents chest pain. Golden Pothos is suitable for the office and on the desk, even when lighting conditions are not optimal. This hardy vine reduces the indoor ozone emitted by printers and copiers which can cause chest pain and throat irritation.

PHILODENDRON: Reduces nausea. Studies have shown all-day exposure to VOCs and high CO2 levels is a frequent cause of nausea and loss of concentration. Researchers have stated that, adding a philodendron, can boost productivity at work.

PEACE LILY: Reduces headaches. Studies have shown that Peace Lily can reduce by 60 percent levels of microscopic mould spores in the air. Peace Lily can also absorb airborne pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene (which can cause headaches) and can remove the airborne chemicals from cigarettes.

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