“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.”– Ellen DeGeneres
One of the things I’ve always done when I’m feeling stuck or daydreamy, whether I’m working at home or in someone else’ office, is to get up and go for a walk. As soon as I start to lose focus, I know that I need to get up and move.
There are other things that are just too easy to do, like fall into an internet black hole if I’m on my laptop or check instagram if I’m in the middle of a print run. I’ve found that those things only make my stalled focus even worse. As if watching dancing an amazing dance video compilation seven times will jar me back into reality.
Those things are way too easy, but if you think about it, walking is even easier. You just have to get up and move away from your work area (if you’re in a wheelchair, roll with it, baby). You don’t have to go suit up in your workout clothes, you just walk as you are.
Inside or Outside?
The best walking place is outside, because you completely remove yourself from your stuck little space and see cars, trees, even other people (gasp!). For me, a short walk around the block does the trick.
If you’re confined indoors because of weather or you’re in prison (wait, does being in prison count as working at home?), you can just take a little tour of your space. Yes, seriously. There are times when getting up and walking little loops around my 300 sq. foot home office space was enough to get me back on track. And I didn’t have to dodge any cars or leaf blowers.
I was once working on a 2-month project in a law firm in Downtown Los Angeles. The hours were grueling and the daily work was never-ending. So going on a long walk in DTLA wasn’t always possible. In those times, I simply walked the complete circuit of the floor we were on. The regular staff working in their cubicles must have thought I was frequently lost, but that’s okay. I noticed that a couple of them did the same thing, or they actually went outside and I think that’s awesome.
The Really Real Benefits of Walking
A few things that regular walk breaks can do for you:
- Releases endorphins, which sounds like dolphins, which are happy and cool, so in actuality it’s like dolphins for your brain
- It can ease depression, unless you’re not depressed, so you can skip this one
- It increases blood flow to your brain.
- You get a creativity boost, as proven by Stanford University smarties
- You wear out your shoes faster, which means…ooooh, shopping!
Walking is easy. Walking wakes you up. Walking is the solution to your stuckness. Try it next time you’re losing your focus and let me know what happens.
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