Anyone in the working world knows what the afternoon slump feels like. After we have our lunch, we feel energized for an hour or so, but then we tend to get foggy. Productivity can decrease and motivation can certainly take a plunge as the afternoon to quitting time seems to drag on. But, what if there was a way during this time to catalyst our creativity, boost our mood, and even lower our stress levels. I am not talking about a huge commitment to anything at all. All you need is a nice walk!
A recent Gallup poll found that 8 out of 10 Americans feel frequently stressed – from work, finances, the political climate, and even family life. These stressors we carry with us day to day and place to place. Work can be one of the areas we try to shut out all the worries we may have, but the truth is, sometimes that stress can be overwhelming and can contribute to the afternoon haze. If you have ever felt hindered by a challenge at work, unable to get through the day, or need a refreshing boost, walking may be your best bet!
I think it is very well-known that exercise of any kind is a good thing when it comes to our health (physically and mentally). Just taking a 30 minute walk over a lunch period can have so many great affects. When we are in a different environment (not at our desk or cubicle), our brains have to work differently to process information. If you are stuck on something, try walking to different part of the building while trying to come up with a solution. If the weather is nice, take a stroll outside to get a new perspective on a challenge that has got you stumped. The new sights, smells, and sounds can awaken different parts of our active mind and can allow us to approach our stressors with new found hope.
Can’t make it outside? Don’t have enough space to walk? Little changes can help as well. If you sit at work, rethink how long you stay in one position. Around 86% of American workers sit all day at work (2). Alan Hedge, a design and ergonomics professor at Cornell, recommends you change positions every 8 minutes, and take a two-minute “moving break” at least twice an hour.