Stressed? Who isn't. But a solution may be hiding in plain sight.
Editing our walking pages on the Camino, I kept circling back to one thought: you don't have to go to Spain to reap the rewards of a stroll.
Lifestyle changes don't have to be expensive or complex.
Putting one foot in front of the other is so simple, that I think we overlook (or undervalue) it. Here are six little reminders of why it's good to walk.
1. It's our natural pace
Airplanes whoosh us around the world at 500mph.
By contrast, walking feels like the pace for which we were made. We move through landscapes, physically in contact with them. We can take in big views or small moments, be it engaging with locals on a city tour or listening to birdsong in a forest.
On a recent hike in Tinahely, Co Wicklow, I was wowed by the panorama from Muskeagh Hill. But I spent more time examining spider webs covered in dew.
2. It feels good
I might not want to go for a walk, but I usually feel better after I do. I suck fresh air into my lungs. My heart perks up. Blood and oxygen circulation gets a boost. It's a gentle shot of exercise endorphins.
3. It helps you think
Walking strikes up a rhythm that's surprisingly conducive to creativity. One Stanford University study found that creative thinking improves by up to 60pc when people walk rather than sit. Ideas percolate. Priorities distil. Clear lines can appear through confusing issues. It's a chance to pocket your devices, too.
4. It can start at the office
"Instead of sitting in a conference room, try walking with a colleague during a meeting." So wrote Arianna Huffington in a recent New York Times piece on changing habits through 'micro-steps'.
Steve Jobs also held walking meetings.
"You'll be less likely to peek at your devices, and the movement can help get the creative, problem-solving juices flowing," as Huffington says.
5. It's sustainable
Walkers, like cyclists, often find themselves on high horses. Walking isn't immune to overtourism, however - as anyone who has walked the last 100km of the Camino de Santiago, or even the 'Camino de Pear' from Bray to Greystones on a summer Sunday, knows. But it is by and large a low-impact, eco-friendly activity and trails and greenways can be developed to open regions up with relatively little investment.
6. It can make talking easier
At the heart of the Camino are the conversations had along the way. But even short walks are good for chats... and more. I've recently heard of two couples who met through MeetUp.com walking groups.
PS. All this, and it's free.
Griffon vultures were circling above as we climbed steadily on day two of our Camino. The swooping birds didn't so much have their eyes on our meaty - dare I say, toned - calves. They were indulging in a playful flyover because they knew something we didn't.