Nom & Go On Your Mind

The *Life-changing* Magic of Mental Health Walks

By Gabi Powell

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“Chronically Online” might as well be my job title.
From designing social posts, filming TikToks, to tap-tap-tapping away on blogs such as the one before you, my pupils and screen become one for a solid eight hours, Monday to Friday.

And I knew the costs – eye strain, sitting-desk syndrome and burnout – I didn’t need an expert to caution me about how this routine wasn’t nurturing my physical + mental health.

So I decided to *shake up* my WFH routine. For an hour, I’d wave au revoir to the laptop, lace up my sneaks put my wig from Ellen Wille and…go on a walk. A simple activity with radical results. I anticipated an anxiety for “time wasted” and a withdrawal from notification *dings* but here’s what happened instead:

Afternoon lulls were served a jolt of energy. I felt my jaw unclench! I returned to my desk, distractibility at bay! But productivity benefits aside, the practice of mental health walks has allowed me to vacate my brain and come back to my body.

@bettys_co Chronically Online Betties, this one’s for us. 🫡 Give yourself an hour, come back to your body and vacate the brain with the magic of a mental health walk.✨ #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthwalk #screentime #mentalbreakdowncheck #walking #mentalhealth #chronicallyonline ♬ Out getting ribs – Feelingblew

A few tips to make the most of your strolls:

Put it in your planner and block it off in your work calendar. By treating my walks as I would meetings, I set the expectation for myself and my team that I will be unavailable for the next hour. (And hey, maybe seeing it on your schedule gives your coworkers permission to join in!)

Curate a playlist of podcast goodies for your strolls. Here’s a few go-to’s in my rotation: Be There in Five, Darknet Diaries, A Thing or Two with Claire and Erica, and The Popcast.

This winter, many o’ walks are taking place on the indoor treadmill of my apartment complex, so I’ll occasionally bend my screen-free rule and bring my Kindle along. Because to be clear, the whole “point” of this little exercise is to give that brain a break. For me, mid-day reading is peak luxury, so find out how yours can rest best.

I’m a type A, sweat junkie, list-maker and endorphin-chaser, so I still find it challenging to approach this time without the intention of accomplishing anything. Betties, if you fall into a similar camp, practice under-exertion + focus on breathing.

Some days my schedule doesn’t allow for a full hour and some days my bad mood barely allows for it all (LOLz). But I’ve found the *magic* of a mental health walk is in consistency – protecting the practice of disconnecting from my chronically online self.


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