It’s been a while since I’ve postedl. I know, not great for business consistency, but amazing for my soul.

My family kicked off the summer with a wedding in Norway. We spent most of our time in the Arctic Circle, on the island of Tromso, then onto Sommaroy for nuptials on a white sandy beach. With a year-round population of about 400 people, it is a magical place: Breathtaking mountain views, pristine air, aquamarine ocean, and the fjords, the fjords! And during the summer, it’s the land of the midnight sun.

We enjoyed the warmth and kindness of the people, who find ways to get out and enjoy nature all year long, even in frigid weather, because as they say, “We’re Norwegians.” Aside from the occasional ‘God morgen’ or raising a toast with an enthusiastic ‘Skal’, we didn’t use much of the native language as virtually everyone speaks English there.

We followed up with travels with relatives and friends a little closer to home on our beloved Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

When you view new vistas, spend time with people of all walks of life, enjoy sunset on the beach, take a class or lesson, whether it’s pottery or pickleball, introduce something novel in your day, and bring a fresh perspective back into your work.

Now we don’t always have the luxury to find novelty, experience different cultures and explore new places. But we can build novelty into our days just by getting away from our desks once in a while. But we can carve out some time in our day to explore our neighborhood, hike through nearby woods, check out a book at the local library, hang out in a coffee shop and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you or sit in a darkened theatre with a bunch of strangers for a Barbenheimer double feature!

A little novelty in our day goes a long way to make us more productive at work and a little nicer in life. All that’s required is a willingness to ‘get out there’ and extending some grace – and time – to explore what’s right outside our window. Here’s my top five benefits of ‘getting out there’. Feel free to add your own reasons to duck out of the office today.

  1. It Improves mental health. We get accustomed to living a certain way that it starts affecting our physical and mental health. Most people don’t see enough daylight for months because they are stuck at work, and when it’s time to leave, they’re too tired to do anything. Escaping now and then boosts your quality of life and decreases stress.  Just soaking up a little sunlight and having a good time can help our minds recharge and improve our perspective on life.
  2. It helps us appreciate life’s uncertainties. We can only plan so much.  Sometimes it helps to ditch our ‘plan’  take a leap of faith, or at least an different route to work! Breakng routine often leads to new opportunities and new relationships, which is an adventure in itself. Those spontaneous moments can be some of the best and most unforgettable in life.
  3. You get exposed to different people, cultures, opinions. Whether our travels are near or far, we will always run into people not exactly like us. And that’s a good thing, especially in light of the echo chambers we now find ourselves enclosed. What we might consider ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ might be anything but for someone else. When I was a kid, my Dad would  say, “That’s why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors. Opinions or customs are like ice cream flavors: They are varied, and we might not like them all, but they make life more interesting. I’m often aspired by an opinion I disagree with as one with which I agree. Speaking of food, check out a local farmer’s market or ethnic food store. You learn so much about a culture as well as the food. These visits open your mind as well as your eyes to what’s beautiful and unique about ‘the other’.
  4. Novelty is exciting. Humans experience a rush of adrenaline after an adventure. Running a road race, viewing art, zip-lining or centering a bowl on a potter’s wheel can turn on our pleasure center, make us more creative and certainly give us stories to share.
  5. So is doing nothing. In our hyper-active, hyper-articulate lives, can’t we all use a little peace and quiet? A colleague says she commutes to work in silence: No radio, no audiobooks, no podcasts, no phone, no talking. Nada. She says her life is so busy,and noisy, she longs to  decompress, get out of her head and bask in the silence. Sitting on the beach with a book, or some quiet meditation, even in the company of others, is a great way to explore the ‘interior’, clear the slate and head back into work with a clear head and a lighter heart.

In the words of the fabulous VoiceOver coatch, Jodi Gottlieb, “Stepping out into the world helps you step up in the booth.” Next time you find yourself saddled to your work desk,(and possibly frustrated) get up and get out. Explore the world. Return to that booth, desk or task a little more joyful, refreshed and ready to up your game.