by Marta Barkova PT, DPT

As injury prevention specialists, being eco-minded comes with the territory. How’s that, you ask? Since the healthcare industry is responsible for about 10% of the national greenhouse gas emissions, it’s an eco-minded task to simply try to keep people out of that system. But let’s not stop there. We ALL have the opportunity to make a much greater impact on our world – AND feel great while we do it!

Why Bother Changing Behavior?

Being eco-minded has been shown to increase your sense of wellbeing, mindfulness, purpose, and happiness, and even lead to a more positive self image. Who doesn’t want that?

There are many different ways to be eco-minded at work. We can choose actions or behaviors that affect the environment directly. When we know these actions can also lead to our own positive behavior change, what do you have to lose? Some examples include:

– Turn off the lights when you are not using your workspace
– Turn off your computer at the end of the day
– Set up a recycling system
Utilize green cleaners to clean your workspace
Bring your snacks and meals in reusable containers; ditch the single use plastics
– Green up your commute

With the average adult spending 90 THOUSAND hours at work, simple behavior changes can have a dramatic cumulative impact when more and more people make these changes.

The Indirect Approach

There are also a myriad of indirect ways to make a positive contribution. Indirect behaviors may not save electricity or reduce plastic in the ocean. But they can also have a profound effect on the state of our planet, starting right where we live and work. You can make a positive contribution by:

Green up your workspace. Having plants in your workspace has been shown to boost oxygen, decrease pollutants in the air, and even improve workers’ sense of happiness.

Bring in some nature art. Natural beauty has been shown to have a calming effect and to reduce stress levels.

Go outside on your break, without your phone. Most people spend too little time outside in general. Spending time outside has been shown to be beneficial to our physical health in general, boosting our immune system, reducing our stress levels, and improving our focus.

Take care of yourself. With the healthcare industry contributing about 10% to national greenhouse gas emissions, it is a major source of pollution. By being proactive with your own wellness, you indirectly, positively impact the healthcare industry. So, take a deep breath, get out on that break, get involved with those pre-shift warmups… and enjoy your contribution to making our planet a healthier, happier place to live!

With Earth Day one month away, what behavior will you commit to changing? Pick one or more than one and spread those Good Vibes to others!

About Marta Borkova, PT, DPT || Marta Borkova is a Physical Therapist in Spokane, WA. In and out of the clinic she loves exploring the themes of holistic health and wellness, and sharing what she’s learned. When she’s not onsite providing injury prevention services, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her two little boys!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!