Guest blog by Fiona Grundy
It’s the start of a brand new year, and this is traditionally a great time of year to take stock of your business and make positive plans, look at fresh ways of taking your portfolio career forward and schedule in ways of taking better care of yourself too. After all, your head has to be in the right space to make all those exciting new plans a reality.
If eating ‘al-desko’, sitting for long periods of time at the desk without moving and thinking up very convincing excuses not to get out into that murky grey cold winter weather and embrace the outside, sounds like you, then you may want to consider joining a walking group or Netwalking group, yes, that isn’t a typo, it’s a thing. I first heard the word from one of the women in my Networking group.
I am a Virtual Assistant working from home and I know I am not alone in spending the majority of my time each working week sat at the desk in front of the computer. According to NHS online office workers spend approximately 75% of their time sitting at their desk! It’s a sedentary occupation and I am fully aware that sitting all day can carry a health warning.
Now, I know there are a host of brilliant exercises you can do whilst sat at the desk, and even I try to work in to my daily routine a daily walk outside. The reality is that I may not always do this because of work deadlines or the weather or I just don’t feel like it! However, the accountability of committing to a group of walkers means we always turn up when we say we will. My Netwalking group meets monthly, we find that having a focus and purpose to the walks keeps us engaged, so we have ticked off our list walking the Thames Path – 182 miles following the meandering River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds to the Thames Barrier in London. We are now walking the London Outer Orbital Path (aka the London Loop). 150 miles from Erith to Purfleet a circular walk which we are tackling in walkable chunks of roughly 7 – 10 miles, we’ve decided that the order we do it in is irrelevant as long as we finish it all. We experience a sense of achievement by completing each section all adding to the feel-good factor.
Netwalking has many benefits including improving good physical and mental health. Walking helps to burn excess calories, improves cardiac health and stamina and it is a well documented fact that walking outdoors in nature helps to alleviate low mood.
As a networking group, one of the best things is that you also have so much more time to discover more about your fellow walkers. There is no 30 second elevator pitch in front of a room full of strangers (if it’s not your thing, it is difficult) to present your best self and succinctly describe your business. You have the luxury of time to chat, the conversation is organic and the pressure is off. You discover in more depth about their business, how you might be able to help them, and they in turn ask more about you. Building relationships is hugely important to building trust and people are more likely to pass on referrals or do business directly with you when they know you better.
Walking can transform your mindset. According to Greater Good Magazine, nature can make you kinder, happier and more creative and I can’t argue with that! We often thrash through problems on our walks, whether it be work or personal stresses and having an opinion from a completely different perspective can be very powerful. There have been many light bulb moments in our group. Taking a break from the mobile and computer screens and treating your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of nature is hugely uplifting.
We are lucky enough to have a knowledgeable walker who answers all our queries on what tree or bird we ask about. The mighty Kingfisher still alludes us but we are ever hopeful. We also have in the group a lawyer, barrister, doctor and logistics expert. I reckon between us we can get ourselves out of most scrapes we might find ourselves in.
Good luck with your year ahead.
When my boyfriend asked me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day I didn’t hesitate, ‘Can you get all your office colleagues to LIKE my page?’
Yes ladies and gentlemen it has come to this, I don’t want to be loved, I want to be liked. Boyfriend can send cards and flowers, but that won’t make me feels as loved as 50 new LIKES. As the Beatles’ song would say now: ‘All you need is LIKES’.
This isn’t me talking. Experts say social media is changing our concept of LOVE and in the future our self-worth will be measured by the number LIKES and FOLLOWS we get and how ‘FRIENDED’ we are. Guess I’m just ahead of the times! With 7.63 billion people in the world … the opportunities are endless!
Of course many people moan and say it’s the end of romance and that sending an e-card is like drinking decaf: you don’t feel anything and it’s sad. Millennials on the other hand will ask ‘What’s a card?’ and accuse you of personally ‘destroying the Amazon, the jungle, the ecosystem, the planet, the universe, the future, their livelihood, the-possibility-of-ever-buying-a-home-and-I-resent-you … you old fogey’.
Being an old fogey myself, (defined as someone who still uses Facebook), I admit it’s difficult for those young souls-doomed-to-rent-for-the-rest-of-their-life-or-live-with-mom…to comprehend what went on ‘in our times’.
Let’s start with dating. Remember those blind dates well-meaning friends hooked you up with? They’d turn up with the personality of an amoeba and more dandruff than an accountant? Then it turned out they WERE accountants? Now you can google them to death and check them out on Tinder, Grinder and REMINDER to swipe him (or her) left. Forever.
Equally reassuring are ‘dinner dates’ which today consist of sharing pics of your latest Deliveroo while texting ‘Yummy’. What a relief not to worry about stupid chit chat or having to drown your burps while eating that enchilada.
What about those love letters people wrote? (Ok, I wrote). So long and convoluted they made War and Peace look like a Tweet. Such a waste of time and I never got any action anyway. Nowadays just send an inappropriate pic of yourself and you’re in!
Then there’s the ‘Wedding Scene’. Gone are the days when you picked the bridesmaids because they were your friends. Now you choose them because they’re photogenic. No budget for your wedding? No worries! Get married in front of a green screen background and post a Bahamas wedding! Because what’s important are not the vows, but … you guessed it, the ‘LIKES’. Of course your romantic honeymoon includes your 1700 friends – because if you don’t post where you’ve been, it’s like it never happened. Because it might not have happened … green screen backdrop and all that.
Then you’re married and it’s all about ‘puppy love’! Not that stupid, pimply, prepubescent love of yesteryear. Today it’s about your puppy in a Cupid Costume with hubby and you in the background kissing. #AdorablyCute. A billion ‘LIKES’.
Finally its break-up time, better known as #HateUDivorceU. Millennials have it so easy! No more awkward moments when friends you had as a couple have to pick sides and say things like, ‘Let’s stay in touch!’ and never talk to you again. Social Media allows you to take the initiative and BLOCK, UNFOLLOW, DEFRIEND, DELETE, DE-LINK, DESERT, DECLINE. #NeverLikedYouAnyway
Sound too good to be true? Well just remember that in today’s world if your heart skips a beat, it’s probably not love. You’re having a heart attack. #RIP
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Sonia Aste is a writer and a very needy comedian. Please LIKE her page: FB SoniaAste