Breaking Away


There’s a reason a lot of us feel unhappy and/or stressed out; we may simply need a break. Our American culture tends to never “turn off” and we’ve all experienced a burn-out from it. We are an overstimulated society, and sometimes we need to turn off everything to realize what turns us on.


Bourree Lam, associate editor at The Atlantic, wrote an article stating, “Americans not only work longer hours, but they are more likely to work late at night and on weekends as well. They found on a typical weeknight, a quarter of American workers did some kind of work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. That’s a lot, compared with about seven percent in France and the Netherlands. On the weekends, one in three workers in the U.S. were on the job, compared to one in five in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. All of this adds up: According to the OECD, the U.S. leads the way in average annual work hours at 1790—200 more hours than France, the Netherlands, and Denmark. That works out to about 35 hours a week, but a recent Gallup poll found the average to be much higher than that—at 47 hours weekly.” NO wonder a lot of us are miserable and tired, America!


We must step back and ask ourselves how effective this work flow is for us and our community, especially since excessive work results in health problems and less of a social life. It was exciting to see a restaurant close/vacation for a month at The Landings. It is customary in most European countries to close for the month of July or August, and would love for this custom to be more a part of our culture in Columbus.


Have you ever been consumed with work, projects, or whatever, making you feel overwhelmed, disconnected and even lonely? I have. However, if I stop to take a walk or bike ride in our community, I feel invigorated and often times have incredible, encouraging conversations with people.


Our Mayor’s article about her trip to Copenhagen (paid for by a grant; not our tax dollars) was eye-opening. She states, “In Copenhagen, emphasis is placed on community well-being, and a low crime rate is a derivative effect. Eighty-two percent of Copenhageners are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the opportunity for taking part in Copenhagen’s urban life. When asked how they most like to interact with their fellow citizens, they said walking and being in city parks. Indeed, the average Copenhagener walks 15.02 minutes a day.”


Most articles on happiness and less stress boil down to taking a break and going for a walk. By changing the scene, it challenges our perceptions and routines. It helps us connect with new environments and people, even if it’s a quick trip to Atlanta, a bike ride on the RiverWalk, or horseback riding in Harris County. I loved what my friend’s mom said in response to the article I wrote, “I Don’t Feel Like I’m in Columbus Anymore”. She was hilarious, stating, “I agree–If you don’t like it here, then why are you still here? On one of the radio stations the other day they said that Columbus ranks high among cities that get enemas. Go figure!” I immediately looked up enema again and loved the correlation, “ motivate evacuation”. Let’s not make ourselves sick over not moving around a little, Columbus friends.


Several years ago, a very spiritual lady told me she felt a spirit of “busyness” over Columbus. I couldn’t disagree with her. I thought about many people who are so busy, but not necessarily making a difference or moving forward. Ironically, most successful people say, “no” often, and play in order to find creativity.


We are much like our phones. If we never turn our phones off, they tend to short circuit. We don’t turn off, then blame it on A.D.D. when we can’t focus. We are so overstimulated as a society, that we’ve become too good at tuning out. We stop paying attention to the enjoyable details, as it becomes a part of all the noise.


We are on life’s treadmill, walking, walking, walking, but not going anywhere, when we need to stop and take an actual walk. I love seeing the Total Systems employees take advantage of the RiverWalk on their break. They come outside, taking a breath of fresh air or a smoke, and enjoy stepping away from the office for a minute. I bet they are more productive for it, too. Next time you feel like you are hitting a wall and can’t focus, or find you’ve stopped listening, please take a break.


Written by Jacy Jenkins

Pictures by Jacy Jenkins (Cora King took the Splash Pad picture and fit the sleepy woman picture)

Here are some tunes for inspiration: 


About the author

1 Comment

  • Love to go with y’all next time…I’ll take y’all to BJ brew and cue…Bobby’s Bar…two of the oldest consecutively licensed bars in Columbus Georgia…

By Jacy