It only took me a year and 3 months, but I finally did it: I took a break and I took a walk. It's such a simple thing, but it's been such an obstacle for me to overcome.
OK, I already know this isn't good or right or whatever, but this is how it is: I rarely take breaks at work, including lunch. I work 9-hour days, so extending that to even 9.5 hours is unappealing to me. My commute isn't bad, about 20 minutes, but I just feel in general that I don't have as much time as I would like during my days.
Anyway, I typically work through my lunches and I don't take any other breaks throughout the day. Occasionally I will chat with someone nearby, but I try to stay on task as much as possible. I have this uneasy feeling that I'm being watched (not totally in a crazy way). I'm a contractor, so the rules already are different for me than they are for regular employees. People here tend to watch others to see what they're doing or not doing, and there's always an undertone of "things could change any minute, so watch out." This worries me; others don't seem so concerned. There's a guy who sits across from me who sleeps at his desk DAILY. He's not a contractor. So... I make sure I'm working as hard as I can at all times, just in case someone is watching. (Paranoid much? Yes. Yes, I am.)
Plus, I was laid off from this job once, and I have this constant fear that it will happen again. So, I work as hard as I can for 9 hours straight. Anyway, sitting at a desk for that long immediately helped me pack on about 20 lbs when I returned to work. I've tried to stay active outside of work hours and that's good, but some days it's painful to sit there for so long. I see other people take breaks and go for walks, climb stairs, etc. But I've been too chicken to do it, too. Until now!
Yesterday, I brought a pair of running shoes in to work and I decided I would quickly walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes. I felt so guilty being away from my desk for 5 minutes, but it felt SO GOOD! I mean it kicked my boo-tay, but it was liberating and it felt good to get my heart rate up a bit and breathe hard for a few minutes. No one said anything to me about being gone, and I know that 5 minutes is not a big deal. I was just struggling to get over my fear of taking a break.
Today, I was determined to take a walk outside. There's a path that runs around my building and the one next to mine, about a 0.9-mile loop. I've run on that path after work some days, so I knew about how long I'd be gone. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze, a perfect day to get a quick walk in. I planned my walk during the time when most people take their lunch break, just in case. Of course, nothing happened! I don't know what I expect to happen, I've just always been nervous about taking time for me during my workday. I need to learn other people's secrets to doing this! How does it look so easy for them?!
I realize I sound like a crazy person. I kinda can't help that right now. But let's focus on the positive: I got a good walk in, got a little sweaty but not too much, and I feel energized for the rest of the day. I've been doing incline pushups and squats in the bathroom at work for a while, but I'm determined to make walking or climbing stairs a regular part of my day, too. I'm worth 15 minutes!
(me, walking on the path at work)