When I stopped working in an office every day, I was left completely confuddled.
Sweets, chocolate and home baked goods hadn’t simply been a way of office life- they were my workplace rocket fuel in the same way that liquid oxygen powered Apollo astronauts to the moon.
So why, then, with those sugary treats cruelly snatched from my despairing hand by virus related restrictions, did I start to pile on the pounds when lockdown first hit?
Well I guess those hikes to and from the bus stop every day, trips to the printer and strolls between office floors must have added up to exercise in a way that home working simply can’t reproduce.
I’ve never been a jogging junky. My five-a-side football career consists of patrolling a goalkeeper’s area the size of a postage stamp. So I needed to find an alternative way of fighting the fat.
That’s when I discovered the simple, daily, life affirming pleasure of taking a daily walk.
Not only is it a cheap, calm, sweat free calorie cutter, it also creates much needed headspace between your home and working life. Part commute, part meditation, it’s the perfect way to round off your day and boost your mood whilst you’re at it.
With dog, pushchair and baby boy in tow, I leave the house around 4pm every day and see where my wandering feet will take me.
Despite living in the suburbs of England’s fourth largest city, I’ve discovered lakes loved by geese and a nature reserve I never knew existed. I’ve chanced upon an orchard full of apples and a hedgerow packed with sloe. I’ve picked cherries and blackberries. I’ve drunk from a takeout serving micro pub and navigated fields full of wheat. I’ve even found some mediaeval stocks.
But as well as the sights as I saunter- there’s the sounds I stride to as well. Whilst there’s a certain beauty in walking to the audio equivalent of au naturale, more often than not I can be found wearing a pair of over ear, noise cancelling headphones through which I ingest a varied collection of spirit enhancing pods.
If I’ve inspired any of you to create your own commute and pound the streets for positivity, these are my recommendations for your promenade playlist:
- Happy Place– this pod passes the Ronseal test, with a mesmerising variety of guests curated to distil positive vibes direct to your ear drums. My favourite episode was when Fearne spoke to Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge about how to discover silence in a busy, noisy world
- Desert Island Discs– an oldie, but a goodie this BBC staple is as comfortable as a favourite pair of old torn jeans, plus a back catalogue to keep you going for hundreds of miles. Check out the episode with warzone surgeon Dr David Nott if you fancy a real, life affirming listen.
- Fall of Civilizations– hearing about the demise of bygone civilizations might not sound like your typical mood booster, but I find something incredibly reassuring in gaining the perspective that really we are all just part of a much bigger historical picture. You thought 2020 was tough? Wait till you hear the soporific tones of Paul MM Cooper as he describes the challenges Norse settlers faced on Greendland in 985.
- High Performance Podcast– aimed at high flying business people or anyone just wanting to live their best life, this pod is packed with inspiring stories from the world of sports, culture and commerce. Tune in to the episode where England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson talks about the importance of living in the moment if you want to sign off your day feeling truly Zen.
So as the nights draw in and the weather turns cold, button up your parka, lace up your shoes and say YES to the wellbeing power of your own two feet.
By Alexander Mills, Corporate Communication Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.