Kristen França

Why Time Outside Matters

Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest can agree that one of the biggest perks of living here is experiencing PNW summers, aka the height of Pacific Northwest Wonderland (check out the hashtag on IG and try not to be jealous).

Yes, the rain all winter is relaxing and the dark days can be soothing, but all that rain eventually turns into sunny, beautiful summer days surrounded by lush, green trees, wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, windy coastlines, turquoise-blue waters, and limitless beauty. Now that summer has officially made its mark on Oregon and every day is warm and sunny, it feels more important now than ever to enjoy the nature around us (safely, with social distancing, of course). Spending time in nature even provides some benefits that can improve the work that we do for our clients.

Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn Agency

I recently learned about a concept that originated in Japan called forest bathing. It is essentially the act of being present, or practicing mindfulness, among trees and nature. Not to get too nerdy or spiritual here, but there have been studies that look at the psychological effects of spending time in nature, and it has been shown that the oils produced by trees and other plants can actually help improve immune function. Forest bathing can also help soothe the parasympathetic nervous system, which can actually reduce stress levels. Lastly, being around trees has been shown to increase our liveliness and overall happiness. Some doctors even recommend “doses of nature” as treatment. (But please consult with your actual doctor before thinking this will cure you of anything. We are designers, not healthcare professionals.)

Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn Agency

Since #OptingOutside can make us healthier, happier, and less stressed, soaking up all of that good nature on the weekends sounds like a recipe for a great work week. At Drawn, we all have our own ways of getting outside to de-stress and enjoy the summer days. Some of us love to camp or ride our bikes, others like to go out on their boats or hike, and others just appreciate a good walk around the neighborhood or up our local butte. Oregon is so green this time of year, so we don’t have to go too far to reap the benefits of this amazing place where we get to live and we find that it does make us more productive come Monday. If you are feeling creatively stuck or tired, or stressed, maybe spend some time relaxing under a tree or going for a nature walk, and see how much better you feel afterward. Then get back to work!