Recently I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone in regards to how I use my free time. Falling into a routine of wake up, eat breakfast, binge watch Netflix, take a shower, dress, and go to work for eight hours is comfortable but not productive or entertaining. Being the introverted little nugget that I am, baby steps are needed here – but the task will get done.
I go through phases when it comes to my physical activity. I used to go to the gym basically every day, and while I saw results in my appearance, I didn’t love going. This isn’t to bash gym goers or say there is anything wrong with it – more power to you. It just wasn’t exactly for me. So instead, I now keep to a routine of at home workouts that give me the same results. However, I was lacking the cardio I so crave. In High School, I ran Cross Country and after graduating, kept at it with the gym on the treadmill or bike. Now, missing the peace moving gave me, I was on the hunt for something different.
I found this boardwalk in the town I recently started working in (picture above) that is quiet and conveniently only five minutes from my job. So now, instead of watching one more episode of New Girl that I have already watched at least five times, I get up and leave an hour early, coffee in one hand and water in the other. Some days I opt to keep my head phones in as I walk or jog down the boardwalk, listening to music and avoiding as much eye contact as possible. On other days, I keep my head up and ears clear and I smile and wave to each person I pass.
If you’ve kept with me to this point, today was a head phone kind of day. My soul was tired, but I knew an extra long walk was just what I needed. So I charged my phone to full battery, and left two hours early instead of one. I bundled up in hat, coat, and scarf, pushed my head phones into my ears, and began my walk.
Immediately, I begin to feel lighter. And today, the people feel different. Even with my head phones in, people are still smiling, waving, even saying hi as they pass me. And I’m reminded why stepping out of my comfort zone and adding new routines to my day is good for me.
When I pass a bench labeled “Betty and Joe’s Lucky spot”, I feel inclined to sit down and take a break, even though my legs aren’t tired and I don’t need to rest. Maybe my mind does. Maybe my soul does. So I allow it to. And sitting here with my view of the ocean, the waves gently lapping the rocks, smiling faces passing me in the chilly breeze, I do indeed feel lucky. This week has been hard, I’ve found it harder to smile and breathing hasn’t come as easily, but right now in this moment, I feel pretty damn lucky.
I encourage you to move. Get up and move. Dance, walk, run, leap, for heaven’s sake go into your yard or parking lot and just scream as you run in circles with your arms spread. People might look at you funny wondering what’s gotten into you, but I promise you, even if just for a moment, you will feel better. And sometimes a moment is all we need to convince us to keep going.
Break your routine. Add something fun. It doesn’t have to be big or exciting or even out of the box. Just find your moment. You deserve it.