World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th each year, and to recognise it, we’re giving our team an hour back. This bonus hour can be spent however they choose — whether that’s by getting some exercise or snuggling up with a good book. Mental wellbeing is vital and it’s something we champion at Medico Digital. We want our team to experience a real work-life balance that puts their health at the forefront.
Interestingly, there is one factor that contributes a lot to your overall wellbeing. That factor? Nature. Spending time in nature — no matter the weather — can have a positive effect on your mental health. We want our team to use the bonus hour we’ve given them to do something that incorporates nature and promotes wellbeing.
Some of the things we suggested include:
- Going for a walk while it’s still daylight — shorter days have a big impact on your wellbeing, so making the most of the sun is essential
- Visiting the hedgerows and picking some delicious in-season blackberries (who doesn’t love a homemade crumble?)
- Going for that run you’ve been putting off
- Taking your beloved furry friend for an extended walk
- Trying something artsy like leaf printing — you don’t need to be Picasso to create an art piece with all the fallen leaves around
While it’s great to get out into nature on World Mental Health Day, we want it to become part of our team’s regular routine. With so many scientific studies showcasing the positive effect nature can have on your wellbeing, we are encouraging our team to join us on an exciting digital detox in December.
A scientific perspective
There is science behind the role nature plays in your wellbeing. Many studies are now seeing a correlation between your mental health and how much time you spend outdoors. Why you feel so good after being outside is not entirely understood. However, the results of multiple studies demonstrate being outdoors is actually beneficial to your mental and physical health.
Here are some of the best examples of the science behind nature and your wellbeing.
A 2021 study (1) found exposure to natural environments can reduce your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of the biggest biological markers indicating stress. This same study also found nature exposure improves your cognitive function, blood pressure and sleep. All of these things can improve the way you feel while working and that is something we aim for at Medico Digital.
This study goes on to explain that people who have regular exposure to natural environments have a decreased risk of anxiety and depression. The use of nature therapy can be particularly beneficial for boosting your mood.
Another study (2) involving 3,282 participants found engagement in nature was a consistent predictor of their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging in nearby nature, such as gardening, walking through the park or looking at nature through the window, can be linked to better overall wellbeing. However, looking at nature on your phone, TV or laptop doesn’t have the same benefits. It’s got to be the real deal!
Medico’s approach to wellbeing
We believe the wellbeing of your team should be one of our top priorities and to do this, we need to create a work culture that supports our team year-round.
Some of the ways we approach wellbeing at work include:
- Flexible working solutions
- Fully remote working
- Digital detox getaways
- Charlie HR perks
- Early finish on Fridays
- Private medical insurance that covers mental health support
- Christmas office closure
We want this list to continue growing so we can bridge the gap between nature and a balanced digital lifestyle for our entire company.
We also understand each person is different and what they need can look different to what we think they need. For example, if a 9 a.m. start doesn’t work for you, we’ll work with you to find a start that does. Or maybe a 1 p.m. lunch break is too early for you. No problem, take it when you need it — and don’t be afraid to spend it outdoors!
Flexible working solutions aren’t just a perk listed on the job advert only to never be spoken about again; it’s part of our fundamental principles for our team and we want them to use it to their advantage. Our approach to wellbeing is meant for the long term — not just one day out of the year.
Our digital detox retreat at Fforest
From the 6th to the 8th of December, we’re whisking our team away for a total digital detox at Fforest. Located in rural Pembrokeshire, Wales, Fforest’s focus is on the spirit of the outdoors and how it can provide the perfect getaway from the stress of everyday life.
We’ve planned some activities to promote mindfulness and wellbeing while we’re away. For example, we’ve planned yoga or a run for the early risers, as well as flexible breaks in the schedule, where you can hit up the sauna, read a book or just take a nap.
Our digital detox is designed to emphasise the delicate balance between work and nature — something which we want to transfer back into our daily working lives.
Embracing a balanced lifestyle at Medico
Being in nature might not always be possible but as studies have shown, simply looking out of your window while taking a breather could help. Instead of using your lunch break to scroll social media, why not use the time to get some fresh air and enjoy the natural world around you?
We want every member of our team to feel supported and know their mental wellbeing is important to us. Our digital detox is just one of the ways we’re supporting mental health with the help of nature. With our flexible working solutions and focus on sustainable ways to boost your mental health, we believe we can achieve a healthy work-life balance.
- Jimenez MP, DeVille NV, Elliott EG, Schiff JE, Wilt GE, Hart JE, James P. Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 30;18(9):4790. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094790. PMID: 33946197; PMCID: PMC8125471.
- Phillips, T.B., Wells, N.M., Brown, A.H., Tralins, J.R. and Bonter, D.N. (2023). Nature and well‐being: The association of nature engagement and well‐being during the SARS‐CoV‐2 pandemic. People and Nature. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10433.
- Darcy, P.M. et al. (2022) Understanding the role of nature engagement in supporting health and wellbeing during COVID-19, MDPI. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/7/3908 Accessed: October 2023
- Eleanor Ratcliffe et al. (2013) Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery, Journal of Environmental Psychology. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494413000650?via%3Dihub Accessed: October 2023
- Nature: How connecting with nature benefits our mental health (no date) Mental Health Foundation. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/research/nature-how-connecting-nature-benefits-our-mental-health Accessed: October 2023