Hiking to exchange occupational burnout for happiness at work

- Mindfulness

by Mila Sanchez

Most jobs these days find you inside an office, staring at a screen all day.

Whether you enjoy the work you do or not, being stuck indoors at a computer 40 hours a week can be draining; so draining that when you get home all you want to do is sit inside, scrolling on your phone. All this time indoors can get to you, both physically and emotionally.

An important part of life is getting outside and experiencing it, and that’s why spending time outdoors hiking is one of Jurgen Appelo’s 12 ways to worker happiness. Soaking up sun while enjoying nature is just one way to stay happy and promote your own sense of work-life balance.

Hiking and Combating Burnout

Hiking Team

Ohio University defines occupational burnout as “emotional, mental, and physical distress that occurs when employees become overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or dispassionate about the tasks they are assigned on a day-to-day basis at work. As that stress continues to build, many employees leave work questioning their interest in the work they do, sapped of energy, and wondering if they will able to continue with the work they do.”

Even for people who love their job, occupational burnout can occur when they are not taking care of themselves outside of work or allowing their work to consume them.

This article goes on to say, “While occupational burnout is a normal occurrence in any number of industries, there are a number of studies that suggest that exercising can make a significant difference in combating burnout, especially if that activity takes place outdoors.”

Physical exercise is well known for its ability to help people work out their stress, and doing that exercising outdoors can only add to that experience. Being in nature is refreshing, and taking in the beautiful sites of local hiking spots while soaking up some sun — which helps with regulation of vitamin D and is important for your health and wellbeing — is sure to lift your spirits and help combat the negative effects of occupational burnout.

How to Get Started with Hiking

People who have never hiked before are likely to not know where to begin; hiking is more than just finding the nearest hill and climbing it. Having the right equipment is essential to a good hiking experience. The most important thing you need for a pleasant experience is a good pair of hiking boots — an average pair of running shoes isn’t going to cut it. Hiking shoes have better gripping on the soles and tend to have high support to prevent you from rolling your ankle if you trip.

Other equipment you will need is a backpack to carry anything you plan to bring with you and a full water bottle or two, depending on how long you expect to be hiking.

As to where to get started hiking, your smartphone app store is here to help. There are plenty of apps that help you find prime hiking spots near to you. Most of these apps will not only list the hiking spots near you, but will also rate them by difficulty and popularity. You can even do a custom search based on your preferences, like distance, length, difficulty level, or whether or not a trail is dog friendly.

Getting the Most Out of Hiking

Depending on your personality, you will want to take different approaches to hiking to get the most out of it. For you extroverts out there, you may find that hiking is much more enjoyable with a group of people. Consider getting your friends together for a Saturday morning hike, or even start a weekend hiking group for you and your coworkers — your coworkers might be needing some outdoor hiking time for their happiness and well-being as well!

For the introverts, solo hiking might be more beneficial. Perhaps you relax best with alone time, so hiking with a group of people is going to be more draining than it is helpful. But just because you don’t want to hike with other people, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from some company — canine company to be exact. Dogs make excellent hiking companions and can make any nature excursion a more pleasant one. If you don’t have a dog of your own or the means to keep one, you can check your local animal shelters to see if you can take a shelter dog hiking. Not only do you get a silent and enthusiastic companion to join you on your walk, but you help out a shelter dog that is definitely going to enjoy the exercise and time outside!

Hiking is the perfect way to boost your happiness. Getting out of your office and house and into nature and sunshine is going to benefit your health in a multitude of ways.

Look for a local hiking spot and connect with the beautiful outdoors.

Whether you go by yourself, or you decide to reach out to coworkers and make it a group event, let us know how your experience goes! Then tell us about your experience below! Did it improve the way you work?

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