Why I #WalkForZest

Why I #WalkForZest

I hate exercise. I would rather do nothing than do exercise.

Unfortunately, physical exercise of some kind seems necessary for a state of zest – for general physical and mental wellbeing.

As a person with ADHD, getting started with and sticking to exercise is a challenge. Also, doing the same exercises in the same places gets really dull.

(And, yes, I do listen to a variety of podcasts and music, before the reply guys step in!)

As an ADHDer, I’ve used external motivation and accountability to get moving…I gamified the process and signed up for virtual exercise challenges. I “climbed Mount Fuji” in three weeks.

A red and white exercise medal with a picture of Mount Fuji on it

I am now walking the Camino de Santiago and am on track to complete the 480 mile journey in August this year.

I love the sense of achievement when I complete a challenge. I also love how these challenges boost my self-esteem and my beliefs about what I can do.

Many times in my life, I’ve been told that I never stick at anything – that’s not true. Challenges like this prove that. I just need to create the right motivation conditions and put hacks in place to support me to persevere!

#WalkForZest is about more than exercise and shiny medals, though.

In my personal experience, deliberately cultivating zest through habits and routines is protective against burnout. In my research programme, I explore how training your self-regulation can assist recovery from burnout and have protective factors too.

I am currently developing a coaching programme for autistic adults to test my ideas…but I am not the first to say that self-regulation might have special benefits.

Proyer, Ruch and Buschor (2012) found that self-regulation seems to help in programmes that are intended to increase life satisfaction – and zest has been found many time to be highly associated with life satisfaction in positive psychology.

I #WalkForZest to keep autistic burnout at bay. I do it to develop my ability to look after myself and keep well. You don’t have to walk, though. You just have to do something that is available and accessible to you on a regular basis, whatever that may be.

What do you do to develop zest? What do you do to keep burnout away? I’d love to know!

Oh, and wish me luck on walking the rest of the Camino de Santiago!

A Google map of part of the Camino route with a marker with Becci's face on it to show her progress. There is also a progress bar at the bottom showing 8% complete.

References

Proyer, R.T., Ruch, W. & Buschor, C. Testing Strengths-Based Interventions: A Preliminary Study on the Effectiveness of a Program Targeting Curiosity, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, and Zest for Enhancing Life Satisfaction. J Happiness Stud 14, 275–292 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9331-9