In past posts we’ve established the following:

  • Feeling a sense of wonder and awe can boost your immune system, refresh your sense of teamwork, sharpen cognitive processing and help you be more present.
  • When physical activity is fun, people are more likely to partake. And the benefits of exercise are numerous, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and depression.
  • Leisure time can help you become more focused, reduce stress, improve self-esteem, reduce loneliness and provide opportunities for self-actualization.
  • Taking vacations can relieve stress, help prevent depression, reduce the risk of heart disease and increase productivity.
  • Working long hours can lead to stress, anxiety, heart disease and stroke.

So what has the potential to combine fun activities, leisure and the essence of vacationing while combating long work hours and instilling a sense of awe? The answer is microadventures.

What Exactly Are Microadventures?

Microadventures are the perfect remedy for employees in a rut. With the busy lifestyles of today, it’s easy to get pulled into the routine of life without switching things up every now and then. Alastair Humphrey, author and motivational speaker, has created the concept of the microadventure. He was named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year for his pioneering work in this field. He describes a microadventure as an “adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short and yet very effective.” To those who work nine to five, he poses the challenge, what do you do with your time from five to nine?

After work, there’s still enough time to infuse a sense of adventure into daily living. This concept applies to workers without a consistent daily schedule as well – the point is to prompt people to use their hours away from work with intention. Many of us limit the exploration of new places and activities to vacation. Though the benefits of vacation are vast, they tend to dwindle shortly after a person returns to the daily grind. It’s time to start incorporating the spirit of vacation – both its exploratory and restful aspects – and a sense of adventure into everyday living.

Here are some examples of microadventures:

  • Have an evening campfire.
  • Plan a midweek overnighter.
  • Sleep outside.
  • Commute via a new means.
  • Winter camp.
  • Go swimming at a new outdoor spot.
  • Get on the water – rent a canoe, paddleboard or kayak.
  • Board a train to a new town.
  • Have a full-moon adventure – hike, walk or simply sit and enjoy it from a park bench.
  • Watch a meteor shower.
  • Take a bus to the end of its line.
  • Climb to the highest point in your area.
  • Follow a historic route.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Embrace bad weather (go for a walk when it’s pouring rain).
  • Go to a new ethnic restaurant as a family and try a new type of food.
  • Pick your kids up from school and take them directly to a new park for a picnic.
  • Camp in your backyard.
  • Set out on a daytrip with the intention of being diverted from the course to check out anything that piques your interest along the way.

Microadventures don’t always have to be outdoorsy; the goal is to do something that’s new and out of the norm. You can also recruit family and friends to join you.

Ideas for Inciting a Sense of Adventure in Your Employees

  • Educate them. Create an email campaign touting the benefits of microadventures along with ideas.
  • Create a challenge. Invite employees to commit to microadventures. A six-week challenge where employees log one adventure per week or a yearlong challenge where employees report one per month would provide motivation.
  • Build a social media campaign. Creativity is a key component of microadventures. Coming up with ideas involves thinking outside the box. Create a hashtag on Twitter for your company’s microadventure campaign and encourage employees to share pictures or post successful microadventure ideas to provide inspiration to fellow co-workers.
  • Sponsor a companywide microadventure. Take a half day as a company for a communal adventure. If your company is too large for everyone to go, tackle microadventures by team.

Since microadventures are inexpensive, accessible getaways, there are no excuses not to take them. The preparation is minimal and the memories are profound. Now is the time for you and your employees to seek some adventure. What’s it going to be?