One of the most important stress relief tactics I regularly practice is the 10-minute walk. It’s as simple as it sounds: A minimum of 10 minutes, outside, and without any electronic devices. The point is to be completely disconnected from any virtual distractions, and fully engaged and present with what is physically real.
There’s something magical about the 10-minute duration, too. It’s short enough that it sounds silly to argue with myself against taking it—it’s just 10 minutes! But surprisingly it is long enough for the all-important perspective shift and mental clarity that happens as a result.
I initially began this practice a while back, after reading an article that said we think better while we’re walking. I was struggling with a hairy problem at the time, and I thought that the walk might help me better think through it. But by disconnecting myself from my screen and stepping out into the world around me, my perspective shifted.
As I walked, I began to worry less about the problem, and started appreciating the sights and sounds around me. I didn’t come up with a solution for the problem I was facing, but I also didn’t care that much; the problem didn’t seem like a terribly big deal anymore. And while I didn’t solve the problem during the walk, you can bet that coming back to the problem feeling refreshed and de-stressed was a boon.
Despite the fact that the 10-minute walk has proven its value to me time and time again, I still find myself occasionally engaged in self-debate over whether or not I can afford to step away for a walk. And so I’ve come up with a rule: The less you feel like you can take a 10-minute walk, the more it is needed.