Working from home, especially if you have children who require ongoing attention can be challenging. I discovered that trail hiking helped me enormously to get through the stress of raising young kids…
The ability to attend work meeting, prepare for presentations and at the same time prep meals for the family, do dishes and laundry, and so on can become extremely overwhelming. Multi-tasking, lack of attention and productivity does not gel together as it simply leaves you stressed and burnt out.
As such, nature therapy in the form of hiking or trekking is an excellent way to replenish your mental capacity, self- esteem and at the same time boost mood. In this article, I will share my personal experiences and tips on how hiking can improve productivity and overall mental health as a work-at-home mum.
Top 5 benefits of hiking
Benefit #1 – Hiking restores your capacity for mental attention
Our capacity for mental attention is depleted by activities demanding prolonged, effortful focus. This leads to fatigue and inability to concentrate, thus, reducing our productivity levels. Hiking can be an excellent way to reduce stress and improve mental health for work at home mums.
The fresh air and natural surroundings help clear the mind and provide a sense of peace and tranquility.
Research undertaken by Stanford found evidence that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits, leading to a lower risk of depression. The study concluded that a 90-min walk through a natural environment showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illnesses.
Benefit #2 – Hiking improves physical health
One of the primary reasons I absolutely love hiking is that it’s a great way to get exercise. Working from home, we often spend long hours sitting in front of a computer which can lead to multiple physical problems. These include poor posture, back pain and poor blood circulation. Hiking can help alleviate these issues by providing a low-impact form of exercise that gets the blood flowing and helps to stretch out tight muscles.
Hiking also provides a cardiovascular workout, which is essential for maintaining good health. Cardiovascular exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, improve circulation, and other chronic illnesses. It also helps to boost energy levels, which can be especially beneficial for work at home mums who often find themselves feeling drained and tired. Thus, hiking is surely a preferred option to improve productivity of work at home mums.
As a bonus, hiking helps with weight loss. Many work at home mums struggle with maintaining a healthy weight due to a sedentary lifestyle and stress eating. Hiking can help to burn calories and boost metabolism, which can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Benefit #3 – Hiking enhances creativity and mindfulness
Therapeutic nature walks, even if it involves an easy hiking trail, helps declutter our mind and this provides an opportunity to think things through from a different angle. Sometimes, short nature walks help cancel out the noise in the background, allowing deeper connection with your passions and inner creativity.
Being out in nature fosters mindfulness which in turn reduces anxiety and restlessness. And that is the greatest benefit for work at home mums who may feel drained by the demands of work and family responsibilities.
Benefit #4 – Hiking improves sleep quality
Hiking is a form of exercise that exhausts our body, which leads to both elevated sleep quality and duration. Exercise has demonstrated an increase in ‘deep sleep’ duration, which promotes repairment and restoration of muscles, bones and tissues.
Additionally, exposure to natural sunlight while hiking regulates your body’s circadian rhythm. This represents your body’s internal clock which controls sleep-wake cycles. Hence, hiking can lead to more regular and restful sleep, which ensures higher energy and productivity level at work.
Benefit #5 – Hiking helps develop meaningful relationships with your loved ones especially children and spouse
Making hiking a family activity allows you to spend peaceful quality time with your children, away from the distractions and demands of everyday life. In this day and age, getting children to spend time away from their phones is miraculous. And using hiking or camping as a family getaway provides an ideal opportunity for meaningful conversations and bonding experiences. The shared memories and experiences strengthen your relationships. This is especially important for work at home mums who may feel isolated or lonely due to the lack of social interaction that comes with working remotely.
Tips to kick-start hiking as a work at home mum
As a work at home mum, it can be challenging to find time to get outside and start hiking. Here are some simple steps to help you get started:
Tip #1 – Start small by choosing beginner level hiking trails
If you’re new to hiking, start with shorter hikes that are close to home. Look for trails that are easy to moderate in difficulty, with minimal elevation gain. This will allow you to build up your endurance and get used to being on the trails without feeling overwhelmed.
Tip #2 – Invest in appropriate hiking and backpacking gear
While hiking doesn’t require expensive and heavy-duty gear, it’s important to have the essentials to ensure your safety and comfort. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes, a daypack to carry your essentials, and clothing appropriate for the weather and terrain.
Tip #3 – Join a hiking group
For motivation, consider joining a hiking group. Being accountable to other hiking group members will provide the much needed push to get you going. Look for local groups on social media or websites like Meetup.com.
Tip #4 – Make it a family activity to create excitement, especially among children
Planning your route and activities with your children creates a buzz and keeps them involved and instills a sense of ownership.
Ready to add Hiking into your regular routine?
Hiking is an excellent way to improve productivity and mental health for work at home mums. It provides a range of benefits, including improved physical health, boosted mental health, enhanced creativity, an opportunity for socialization, improved sleep quality, and increased energy levels. By incorporating hiking into your routine, you can improve your overall wellbeing and lead a happier, healthier life. So, if you’re a work at home mum, it’s time to grab your hiking boots and hit the trails!