At some point in my childhood, I picked up the phrase “walk it off.” 

I don’t know if this was during the brief time that I played team sports (mostly soccer), or from a movie or television show, or from something else entirely.

But it stuck with me.

Recently, after a tough day at work, I called my partner — who drops me off each morning and then drives to pick me up downtown each day — and said that I was planning to stay late to take a walk after work.

In other words, I wanted to walk off the day before going home.

Since I work downtown, there are many different places that I can walk to. On this evening, I walked to the downtown library and then back to my office. It was about an hour round trip, and I was in a much better headspace afterward.

While I walked, I called a family member and chatted for a while. Not really about my day, but just about mundane things that served as a nice distraction. 

Then, the other night, my partner had to pick me up late because of an appointment he had. I once again took the occasion to take a nice long walk. This time, I walked to the downtown Whole Foods. I bought myself dinner and then sat and read my book until I could get picked up.

It was a wonderful way to end the day.

And, while I was sitting and reading, I saw another woman quietly eating her dinner. She also had a book for company.

Several years ago, when I was attending conferences regularly, I used to take myself out to solo meals. I loved this time spent with myself to process the day and just have some time alone after being around a lot of people in sessions.

While I think that solo dinners every night could get a bit lonely, I’ve realized over the past few weeks that having a long solo walk or dinner at the end of the day is a wonderful treat.

So, now I’m implementing it more regularly. 

And while I can’t always plan for which days I’ll need it the most, sometimes I do have a sense of the days where I will have a difficult meeting, a big presentation, or just a very full schedule that could be rewarded with some solitude time after work.

Especially as we are enjoying the last nice days of early fall, when the evenings are still a bit warm and light, it’s a great way to close out the day.

What’s your version of “walking it off”? How do you reward yourself after a long or difficult day?