Do This for 5 Minutes Before Checking Your Phone In The Morning

At the end of last year, I started sporadically going on walks around my neighborhood. Soon, I began to wonder why hadn’t I done so throughout the past 10 months of doing everything from home? Going on walks is one of those things that everyone suggests you do as a break from your tasks, but that we kind of shrug off and end up scrolling through Instagram on our lunch break instead. It seems small and inconsequential- going on walks for just a few minutes- but it’s become the most consistent and essential part of my day. Mind you, this is coming from a routine-less Sagitarrius who has too much going on all at once to do anything on a consistent schedule. If that’s not a testament to the power of walks, I don’t know what is. 

I started rather ambitious by walking 1.5 miles to and from my local coffee shop in the mornings. It was nice during Winter break but unsustainable once the Spring semester began. This made me a bit sad, as I thought I would be back to being stuck in four fresh-air-less walls in the mornings and heading straight to the computer or my phone. It’s an almost depressing awakening- realizing how little time we dedicate to the simple act of living and breathing. Going on walks was the first step, unknowingly, to starting a morning routine that had nothing to do with work or school. I began to create a morning routine. It involved connecting with myself and the natural, nonelectronic world around me. Nearly a month in, it’s done wonders for my mental health. 

So, what did I do when I realized I couldn’t walk to Starbucks every day? I compromised. I still woke up two hours before my first “task” of the day- usually class, reading for class, or a meeting. But, by cutting my walks shorter, I was able to create more of a routine for myself: get up (don’t look at my phone). Brush teeth. Wash face. Shower. Fill water bottle. Eat blueberries. Go for a 5-10 minute walk around the block. Sit under a tree. Stretch and meditate. Start reading for class/replying to messages while sitting on the grass (if it’s not too hot outside). 

When I “can’t” in the morning, I walk in the evening. I had never done so before and discovered that everything is particularly beautiful through the glow of the sun and pink sky. Doing so is especially helpful before a three-hour 6 pm zoom lecture. 

Has doing this helped, you ask? I can sit here and write about the positive effects of these 5-minute getaways all I want- the mood boost, clearing of the mind, grounding effects, exercise, the increased likelihood of having long-lasting energy throughout the day. But, instead, I’ll simply challenge you, and in the challenge, you’ll find the answer. Take one 5-minute walk first thing in the morning for 5 days. And yes, that means not checking emails until afterward. On the days that you can’t, or feel like you need more, take one in the evening. Around 5 pm seems like the ideal time. Repeat this until one day you almost don’t take one, but then realize how your day will be a lot better once you do. The value of a walk, like the value of fresh air, is mostly felt when we no longer, or almost don’t, have it. 

That last line is admittingly corny, but I hope that you soon enough feel the same way.

P.S. wear your mask.