Around the time of our flag referendum, economist Bernard Hickey wrote, “If New Zealanders had been honest about finding a flag that reflected the national character it would have been an open-home flag,” and I think he was right. When I mention that I’m thinking of buying a place closer to where I work, most people get all excited about DIY improvements, home staging, open homes and anything else connected to real estate. I’m not like that, but one of my goals this year has been to downsize and relocate to a place that will allow me an easier commute to work. Now that my house has been repainted and tidied up, I guess the next step is to put it on the market. My brother, obviously more in tune with the national character than I am, has already started flicking me emails about open homes in my target suburbs. What’s kept me hesitating?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’m pretty sure it’s connected to my morning routine. Three mornings a week, I roll out of bed, gulp down a shot of coffee and run. Within about 10 minutes, I am off the suburban streets and on a seaside walkway. About 5km later, I am back home, sometimes well before the sun is up. Even when it’s pitch black, I’ve had a chance to see the stars and the moon. I’ve smelled the sea and heard it lapping the rocks. I’m no great nature-lover. (I walked the Tongariro Crossing last year, but I was grumbling most of the way and for months afterwards. I also fell down on a really flat part near the end. I think I just gave up.) Even so, I am convinced that these outdoor runs are one of the most important things I do for my well-being. The experts agree. The theme of October’s Mental Health Foundation Awareness Week was, ‘Nature is key.’ And you can tell they really think so, because last year’s theme was, ‘Connect with nature for good mental health and well-being.’
Sometimes I go for an afternoon walk, or a bike ride around the same route but my (very, very slow) thrice-weekly morning runs have been non-negotiable for a few years now. When I ran on the treadmill at the gym, I seemed to make more excuses to skip sessions. I just can’t think of any good excuses now. I don’t have to drive anywhere; the run starts when I walk out the door, and if it’s raining I can grab a shower as soon as I get back. It’s a 24-hour access fitness facility with no joining fee, and all the extra benefits that come with being outdoors.
Now that I know what I’m really looking for, I guess I’m ready to join my fellow Kiwis on the weekend open home trail. It’s just that I have my own, slightly different take on ‘location, location, location’.
*Lynne Glen is a guest blogger and reader of Healthy Food Guide. She has taken up the challenge to use the mental well-being and resilience advice from the July 2017 issue and write about her progress.
Read more of her pieces here: