These encouraging chalk drawings are an easy way to spread joy.
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After a week and a half of working from home while social distancing, I have a whole new appreciation for the ability to take a walk outside. A quick stroll around the block can do wonders for my mental state when I need a change of scenery from my apartment, and it turns out, I'm not the only one who turns to nature in times of stress. A 2019 study reports that taking a 20-minute walk can significantly lower stress. And this week, these walks around the neighborhood got a bit brighter thanks to the #chalkthewalk movement. People across the country are using sidewalk chalk to decorate their sidewalks and driveways with bright drawings and uplifting messages for their neighbors and friends who walk by.

The point of the movement is simple: To remind people they’re not alone and put a smile on their face as they’re out for a walk. And it couldn’t be easier to get involved: Dig out the tub of sidewalk chalk in your garage (or add one to your next online order, such as Washable Sidewalk Chalk, $4.99, Target) and start decorating your outdoor space.

Add a specific thank you message for those still out working (like the mailman or a bus driver out delivering meals) or opt for a colorful photo to brighten the neighborhood. You can even drive to a relative or friend's house and leave a personalized note or drawing on their driveway. But you don’t have to have a house or a driveway to get involved: Decorate the sidewalk outside of your apartment building or chalk your message at a public walking path (keeping a safe distance from other people, of course). Wherever you leave your creation, make sure it's colorful and uplifting.

Right now there are more than 9,000 Instagram posts tagged #chalkthewalk, and the messages are so sweet. From child-drawn photos of rainbows, flowers, and hearts to professionally lettered words of encouragement, these posts are sure to put a smile on your face. Look through them to get inspiration for your own design, or take a virtual stroll through your Instagram feed if you’re not able to get outside.


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