Time crunches, layoffs and increased workloads, difficult coworkers, employee-monitoring software, hybrid schedules … desk sharing? Many of us, whether telecommuting or on-site, know that workplace culture has been uniquely filled with tension lately. Got vacation days? Be sure to use ’em. But when you can’t leave the grind behind, you may be pleasantly surprised about how much power you have to shift from a pressured mind-body experience to a peaceful one. An easy and accessible tension tamer is to stream a nature video at your desk. You can do this while using a split screen to multitask (it takes just a moment to search for how-tos for your desktop, tablet, laptop or mobile).
In a 2022 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers in Switzerland and Germany measured lower heart rates and increased parasympathetic activity (the chill-out response moderated by the vagus nerve that you might have heard about) in subjects who watched nature videos. Other research explores how viewing nature seems to have a restorative effect: Even if the images are virtual, the nervous system is still quieted and concentration may be improved.
A few of us at Sisters tried it — and it worked! Scroll down for some of our favorite relaxation vids with or without background music.
Videos with music
Name of video: Hawaii - Scenic Relaxation Film With Calming Music
Time: 1 hour 26 seconds
Why we liked it: Hawaii is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Enjoy this visual journey with ambient piano music that takes you across the Hawaiian island of Oahu, over the ocean to rain forests, mountaintops and more. One viewer’s comment on the video site read, “It is a wonderful combination of soothing music, beautiful scenery, marine life and just what is needed now.”
Name of video: African Wildlife Animals - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Time: 2 hours 10 seconds
Why we liked it: This video allowed us to get up-close and personal, while remaining safe just inches away, with the amazing wildlife in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Watch as elephants, giraffes and lions majestically stride across the savanna, zebras drink at the water hole, and the sun sets in a stunning rainbow of reds, oranges and yellows. We imagined ourselves glamour camping, or “glamping” it up, while we crossed this spectacular trip off our bucket lists. One viewer said, “It’s just amazingly beautiful and peaceful. My mom would cry watching this.”
Name of video: Stunning Forests Views With Relaxation Music
Time: 1 hour 33 seconds
Why we liked it: An hour-long journey around the world that highlights forests and animals. Marvel at the variety of ecosystems in various seasons and all the animals that live in and near the forests. It’s a beautiful journey accompanied by a rolling piano track, and viewers have noticed with, “Just wowww! Thank you!”
Name of video: Amazing Nature - Most Beautiful Places In America - Part #1
Time: 3 hours 54 minutes 31 seconds
Why we liked it: Astonishing views of the Pacific Northwest. A virtual trip through Bryce Canyon National Park. A walk along the Oregon coast. Stunning views of the iconic redwood forest in California. This is nearly four hours of spectacular natural landscapes backed by serene music or the peaceful sounds only found in nature. One viewer commented, “Epic video!!”
Name of video: Fly Away to a Tropical Island!
Time: 1 hour 1 minute 43 seconds
Why we liked it: With expansive, unobstructed views of lush tropical forests, this video allowed us to virtually walk the beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. We felt transported by this video. You could almost smell the Caribbean Sea breeze while listening to the ambient sounds of waves and the melodic music playing in the background. This review sums it up: “It's a magical world where there are no tourists on the beautiful coastline.”
Videos with nature sounds only
Go with the flow
Name of video: Nature Sounds of Earth's Most Beautiful Places
Time: 8 hours 1 minute 44 seconds
Why we liked it: If water is your thing (all you water signs out there might find this one a real winner), this video offers eight wonderfully peaceful hours of water: Lakes, ocean, rivers and waterfalls all come to life in high-definition video with no sound except the tranquil background of ripples, waves, rushes and lapping chirps of water. One viewer commented, “Teleported from work to here.”
Watch the birdie
Name of video: Birds Relaxation Video With Original Bird Sounds
Time: 2 hours 9 seconds
Why we liked it: This beautiful video features multiple bird species, from herons and eagles to kingfishers, storks and parrots. The background is full of quirky but often melodic sounds of birds singing, whistling, cawing and tweeting. “Nature is God’s gift; really a great video,” one commenter said.
Name of video: Amazing Colors of Spring Flowers and Fall Leaves - Nature Relax Video With Nature Sounds
Time: 3 hours 3 minutes 31 seconds
Why we liked it: Chirping birds are the backdrop for this breathtaking burst of flowers in vibrant bloom. You may not smell spring yet, but this video takes you there. One viewer commented, “Very beautiful, peaceful and colorful. Thanks.”
Under the sea
Name of video: Stunning Underwater Footage + Relaxing Music | French Polynesia, Indonesia
Time: 3 hours 13 seconds
Why we liked it: We found this underwater excursion spellbinding. It’s hard to feel stressed when watching the slow and graceful movement of the water. The colors are vibrant and the music captivating. This dreamy escape will delight your inner mermaid. As one commenter aptly put it, the video is “truly mesmerizing, almost hypnotic.”
Bridge to tranquility
Name of video: Autumn River Sounds - Relaxing Nature Video
Time: 9 hours 10 seconds
Why we liked it: We were transported to another world while watching the water rush down an idyllic stream with a walking bridge, and vibrant autumn leaves provide colorful and breathtaking imagery. For over nine hours, the hypnotic sounds of water rushing over rocks serves to be the perfect environment for relaxation, sleeping or studying. One commenter put it this way: “I could sit on that bridge for hours.” No argument there!
Name of video: Crackling Fire w/Rain and Thunder Sounds Outside
Time: 10 hours
Why we liked it: Distant thunder, soft rain and a crackling fire will put you in the mood for hot chocolate, a hot toddy or a warm cider. Snuggle up with this mesmerizing mix of comforting stimuli that’ll warm your bones and bring a smile to your face. One commenter said: “This really helps me throughout my day.”