Has it ever dawned on you, while you’re working away on a project, or sitting through back-to-back Zoom meetings, that you haven’t stepped outside yet that day? When the day gets busy, it’s easy to deprioritize spending time outdoors. But get this: Stepping away from your workspace and getting outdoors for just a few minutes can do wonders for your mental health and well-being, as well as your ability to follow through on that to-do list.

In five minutes, you can boost your mood and self-esteem.

All it takes is a few minutes of fresh air to feel better. Researchers from the University of Essex found that spending as little as five minutes doing “green exercise,” or activity in nature, was enough to boost study participants’ mood and self-esteem. This means you can meaningfully benefit by taking a quick walk around the neighborhood or heading to the backyard with a pet or loved one. 

And in 10 minutes, you’ll get a much-needed dose of vitamin D.

If you have an extra few minutes to spare, push yourself to spend 10 minutes in the great outdoors. Why? According to Harvard Medical School, most Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D, which is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system and coping with seasonal depression in the darker winter months. Vitamin D deficiencies are a real threat for those of us working from home, considering we probably don’t make it a priority to get some sunlight during our jam-packed workdays. The good news, though, is that you only need to get outside for 10 minutes (on a sunny day, of course) to boost your vitamin D levels. So, what are you waiting for? This is your sign to close your laptop and hit the pavement (or the grass).


  • Jessica Hicks

    Managing Editor at Thrive

    Jessica Hicks is a managing editor at Thrive. She graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in journalism, sociology, and anthropology, and is passionate about using storytelling to ignite positive change in the lives of others.