I know life is stressful for everyone right now, but let’s all commit to a little self-care so we can keep going. For me that means taking walks. I try to do so mindfully, soaking in the sights, sounds and feel of what’s around me, rather than simply using my body as a vehicle to transport my worries from place to place.
Yesterday’s perambulation along the MKT Trail was particularly restorative. I stopped on a bridge for a bit to watch this muskrat enjoying nature’s salad bar. It’s fully in the moment, not fussed about what might or might not happen tomorrow.
Let’s all promise ourselves that for at least a few minutes each day, we’ll be this muskrat, living its best life.
“Walking is man’s best medicine.” – Hippocrates.
And woman’s, I would add. I’m lucky to live in a good walking neighborhood. One of my favorite spots is a park a few blocks away. It has no playground equipment. But it has a stream running through the middle, some open grassy areas, lots of trees and a couple of mysteries.
What are those things coming up out of the ground? I keep walking past them and wondering. They’re made of tree-like material. My best guess is that they’re part of the surrounding trees’ root systems. Some day I might do some research and find more information. But for now, I want to keep my walks to their intended purposes – get some exercise and get outside my head. Shutting down my overactive mind, giving it a rest, is one of the biggest benefits of my regular constitutionals. At this point, I prefer to enjoy the unusualness of the sight without having to know everything about it.
Nothing clears my head more effectively than a good walk outdoors. It’s always been my go-to. When my kids were little, I had a fancy schmancy two-seater wagon with cup holders. I’d often load them in with sippy cups and snacks and pull them around the neighborhood. And the day generally went better afterward.
Now that they’re young adults, I walk alone most of the time. I’m an introvert so this works for me. It’s my time not to have to think about my mom’s Medicaid paperwork, or whether my son is caught up on his homework, or getting the leaking shower fixed. All of those things will be waiting for me when I come back. And I’ll be less likely to snap at anyone over them.
Walking – free, easy, requires no special equipment, and it makes me feel good. Hippocrates couldn’t have been more right.