Being happier – literally a walk in the park
A walk in the park, the expression for something that is really easy to do, seems to be not so easy to implement in our daily lives. The actual walk in the park seems a weekend privilege and that needs to change! Not everybody has a park around the corner, but many of us are lucky enough to have some trees in the street or a small park or square nearby. Walk there. Every day.
Working from home = no work commute
Before working from home became the rule, not the exception, I was working from home, building my own start-up. I had no work commute and I could have stayed in all day, even in my pyjamas, or dressed from the waist up for the occasional video call. But I did not. I got dressed fully - as if I had somewhere to go - and went out to get a coffee. That was my "work commute" and kept me sane when I was quite isolated working on a project that was invisible to a lot of people and had little exposure to the world around me.
Working from home is now the rule for a lot of people and it might be not everyone’s thing. However, it has a great advantage. The classic work commute falls away. That car journey sitting in the traffic jam, that uncomfortable train ride, gone. That one thing that always ranks very highly in the list of things that make us miserable.
So what shall we do with this time we have won?
Go for a walk!
Instead of lying in, staying in pyjamas longer, we should get dressed like someone is actually meeting us in real life and go out for a walk. If you are super time-pressed, go out for 5 minutes. Get out of your building and walk around the block. If you are in the middle of nature, great! Take a brisk walk, come back and start your work day.
If there is not much nature around you, look at the sky, the clouds. Feel the wind or the sun or even the rain. If you can do some errands on the way, perfect, that’s a bonus. But even if you wouldn’t need to leave the house, please go out. Humans are made to be outside and we need it for our minds more than we are aware of.
Going for a walk counts!
Walking is exercise and it totally counts. The 10,000 steps rule has been debunked (a Japanese marketing company came up for it to sell a pedometer), which is fine by us, as it set the bar far too high. A study of the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health testing 16,000 American women showed that the mortality rate dropped significantly at 4,400 steps per day and increasing daily physical activity by only 2,000 steps already had positive health outcomes for these elderly women.
The double win
In Winter the thought of a walk outside can feel a bit daunting but it’s refreshing and it is so nice to come back to a warm home. It’s an instant reward!
In Summer when it is a bit too hot outside, the coolness of the house will be a pleasant thing to come back to.
A simple trick to boost happiness
We often forget that we can find clever ways to give ourselves a little happiness boost and it’s so easy. If we take something away from ourselves, we enjoy having it back a lot more. Taking the warmth and comfort of the home away for a little bit gives us an extra fuzzy feeling at the return.