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  • Writer's pictureNikita Vyas

Here's why your surrounding matters

I realized the value of leaving home and getting fresh air when during the pandemic.

I’m a homebody you see and I was working from home before it became the new norm. Even though I went out occasionally. I never really did think about its importance of it till the pandemic. I realized what it actually meant to get some fresh air. I guess you don’t pay attention to small things till the freedom is taken away. When someone tells you, ‘Hey this thing you’ve been taking for granted is no longer available’ That’s when you start regretting stuff that tends to mount up and implode.

Life can be weird that way.

I’m actually writing this article at a café, well the first draft of it anyway. I never really thought I’d be writing an article about it too. But here I am.

Of course, I understand the basic idea of getting some fresh air but if I had to be more specific about what I inferred about it, is that your environment and surrounding plays a huge role in your mood shifts, thought process, creativity. If you’re going to be in the same environment time in and time out, odds are you’re going to go through a funk, feel unmotivated, uninspired, and slowly don’t find the physical energy to improve your situation. Artists I’ve worked with tell me that’s when they go through a creative block. For creatives and artists, the environment can be everything.

Sometimes, the walls no matter how pretty, start to close in on you and even if everything around it is pretty amazing, constantly being in the same place can cause your mood to change and cause severe burnout.

My experience with the environment and surroundings is related to my burnout. I know I’m going through one when all of a sudden, I stop going out. I start binge-watching shows instead. Sometimes watch the same stuff even while eating. I feel so loud in the head that I feel it’ll explode. I don’t see myself smiling and physically feel as if I’m carrying the weight of the world. It takes me a whole two to three days to understand that I’m going through stress and burnout. That’s when I force myself to make an effort to get ready and leave home.

Once I’m out everything changes.

I always imagined how powerful those women must feel when taking their books and laptops to cafes and getting engrossed in reading or working and the onlookers can’t help, but wonder what must be so interesting in that book or what must they be working on so intently on their laptops. I always found it quite attractive and inspiring. As silly as I sound, I wanted to be that!

I’m on the other side today, I’m the one with my laptop, typing away intently on this laptop, with people looking at me wondering who am I and what must I be doing and honestly, it hardly makes a difference. I feel important to an extent, but the allure isn’t about power in my experience. It’s about the surrounding. I don’t know about those women. Maybe it was about the surroundings too. I do love to write in a café. Surrounded by strangers doing their own thing. I don’t have to talk to them but I like that I’m not lonely. I love the idea of coworking spaces cropping up so creatively nowadays.

As an introvert, it’s a dream come true, to just smile at a stranger, do my work, leave when I want. Don’t you think so?

Maybe you’re wondering ‘this isn’t going to solve my problems’

What is the point of this article anyway?

You’re right. It won’t.

But that’s not the point. The point is that your surrounding plays a huge impact on your mood. It changes the way you feel, think, understands, and experience. That’s the reason so many people travel, they save up, so they can travel! They’re looking for a change in their surroundings.

I remember having a conversation with a client a while ago who didn’t give herself permission to go out or try a place she could work from. She didn’t see the point. I completely understood. But I could also see how harmful the effects could be in the long run.

I remember when I was trying to improve my writing or at least understand how I felt about it, I had a meeting with someone in the creative field. He told me, ‘Your creativity will never flow if you’re going to have only one view. You need to step out and explore. You need to see colours that are unfamiliar to you. You need to see faces you may never see again. You need to have conversations that are beyond everyday life. You need to break the pattern of routine. It won’t make you a better writer but your creativity will flow. It’ll expand and your perception of life will change drastically. And for that, you need to go out and get some fresh air.’

It obviously never made any sense to me at that time. So, I didn’t give it much thought. But slowly I realized what he meant. It wasn’t about just going out and spending money. It was about exploring and opening your mind to amazing things you didn’t know existed.

But the point is, to do that every day, almost every day.

Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt trapped and claustrophobic? Maybe not literally, but with your situation, your thoughts, your mood? At that moment, did you ever just step out and change the scenery? Met someone new? Observed other people? Do something other than locking yourself up? That liberating feeling is what helps us move past the slump.

It makes sense that it’s impossible to do that every time you go through a slump or if you have a full working day. But don’t allow these reasons (read: excuses) to stop you.

Here’s what you can do –

  • Go out if your work permits you to go out. If not every day, try to go out every other day. Make it mandatory.

  • If you can’t work outside, try to take your lunches or dinners outside. Go out.

  • If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer – try to take your meetings outside. Can be close to your area, can be a small place but try to take your meetings outside or rather in-person.

  • Even at home, change your workplace from time to time. Sitting in one place can cause boredom and burnout.

  • If going out is not an option at all, try to create an ambience at home, especially when you work. Any kind of ambience that works for you or you want.

This may seem simple, silly even. But something that you may consider as insignificant as your surrounding will play a huge part in your day-to-day life. Burnout is easy and very real. It creeps in on you when you least expect it. Or want it. Stagnation easily happens. It clogs your mental wellbeing and creativity.

I’ve worked with designers, creatives, artists, who have always told me how important the surrounding is for them. How easily they lose touch with their creativity and experience mundane ideas because they’re stuck due to their surroundings. They deliberately go for a walk, change their scenery for better creativity and ideas.

In the short run, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. It hardly counts or matters but in the long run, it has a huge effect on you.

I read. I read fiction. And a change of scenery. Blending in the storyline of other characters gives me a reprieve from my burnout, my stagnation. That’s how I realized the importance of getting some fresh air, even if for an hour.

Choose what works best for your fresh air based on your life. Try to actually give this a try. It will help in your burnout, perception, and creativity.

I’m not sure if this concept and idea make sense to you. But if it does resonate with you. If you’ve had an experience you’d like to share. Please feel free to write to me. I’d love to know more about your experience.

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