Slow Down and Walk Barefoot to the Mailbox

April 11, 2023

“I walk to the mailbox barefoot,” Dan Judy, a people care specialist, shares. “It seems a little crazy, but it actually helps.”

In our modern work culture, we often rush. Rushing to the next meeting. Rushing through lunch to work on the next project. Rushing home.

“There is a huge tension with our society,” Dan remarks. “We always have to be doing something.”

Inevitably, something has to give. Usually, it’s our mental or physical health which often leads to increased stress and burnout.

A 2021 Forbes article notes that over “half (52%) of survey respondents are experiencing burnout in 2021—up from the 43% who said the same in Indeed’s pre-Covid-19 survey” (Kelly, 2021).

So how do we stop burnout and other stress-related problems? Simple. We ground ourselves.  

What is Grounding and Why Should We Do It?

As a people care specialist, Dan is often helping people navigate big life changes and interpersonal challenges which can put a great deal of stress on his own health, both mentally and physically.

And Dan isn’t the only one.

“A lot of times we don't have margin in our lives,” he explains. “We don't have those quiet moments. We (really) need those moments to reset (and) to rest.”

One way Dan found to reset, and recharge is by grounding himself.

So, what is grounding? Grounding is slowing down and being in the moment. And this can take different forms for different people: Such as reading a book or grabbing a coffee or taking a midday picnic.

“I've even heard people that just like to wash their hands under hot water,” Dan explains. “You know, just that whole kind of being in that moment letting that hot water wash over your hands.”

And while slowing down may look different for you, it’s important to remember that the goal is to fully immerse yourself in the moment. Which is why Dan walks barefoot to the mailbox.

“You can't walk at a fast pace because if you step on a rock, it's gonna hurt,” Dan explains. “So, you almost really have to kind of slow down and be in that moment at that slower pace.”

“You have to watch where you're going, but also you kind of recognize what the road feels like (and) what the grass feels like,” he adds.  

Tips for Grounding Yourself

Walking barefoot might not be for everyone. Luckily, Dan has some tips for those who are less inclined to take such an extreme measure for grounding themselves.

One of the easiest ways to ground yourself is by doing simple stretches at your desk. Start by putting your feet flat on the ground and your hands on your desk, palms facing up. Then close your eyes and sit there for a minute or two focusing on your breathing.

Try to “get lost in the silence,” Dan notes.  

But remember: Grounding, like yoga, takes some practice and effort.

“It's gonna be awkward (and) it's gonna be challenging,” Dan explains. “At first, you can just sit there for 30 seconds. But as you do it, you'll see that you can really reset and rest in those stressful moments of everyday work.”

But stretching is only one of many ways to ground yourself. Another way of resetting is getting up and going for coffee with your coworkers.

“Leave your phone in your office, go have coffee, and just let the conversation kind of carry itself,” Dan explains.

That might sound challenging considering how dependent we have become on our mobile devices. But like with the stretching, start small and work your way up. Start with something simple like not checking your phone for two minutes during the conversation. Then extend that time until you eventually feel comfortable enough leaving your phone in your office.

Give Yourself Permission to Reset

Dan’s suggestions might not necessarily work for you, so it’s important to find what does. There are plenty of apps and articles out there so spend some time figuring out what makes you reset. But remember, the most important aspect is not what activity you do but that you give yourself permission to reset.

“A lot of times we feel guilty that, ‘Hey, we're wasting time,’ or that [resetting] is something that isn't beneficial” Dan explains. “But you have to give yourself permission to do that.”

“That's hard because we have that tension with silence,” he adds. “We have that tension with doing nothing. That it seems like a waste, but really, it's just a reset.”

What the Bible Says about Being Still

While grounding is often a physical activity, Dan notes that it can very much be tied back to the biblical principle of being “still” found in Exodus 14:14.

“God calls us to be still,” He explains. “He calls us to rest.”

So, why not add grounding to your 2023 goals for yourself and your work by finding small ways to pause and reset each day.

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Written by Johannes Haasbroek

Johannes Haasbroek is a freelance content writer living on the outskirts of Frederick, MD. With a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication from Liberty University, he has a passion for helping people share their unique stories and skills with the rest of God’s people. He is also on a mission to try out every restaurant in the Frederick area.

Reference: Kelly, J. (2021, April 5). Indeed Study Shows That Worker Burnout Is At Frighteningly High Levels: Here Is What You Need To Do Now. Forbes.

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