“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru
I love going for walks. Before I had kids, I would typically walk twice a day: once in the morning and once after dinner. Since my two beautiful boys have come into my life, I no longer walk nearly as frequently, but I still strive to walk as often as I can. And when I get the opportunity to walk by myself, it feels like a decadent treat.
You see, not only does walking get my body moving, but it also helps me to clear my mind. This probably holds true with all sorts of exercise, but my general clumsiness means most other forms of exercise require an inordinate amount of concentration for me to perform them without harming myself or someone else. Walking is not that way. I can [usually] walk without too much incident.
Walking alone allows me time to step away from everything that is sitting on my desk, calling for me to finish it. It allows me to be free of the requests of my other family members for a period (and, as you may or may not know, a toddler – while pretty much the cutest thing in the universe, especially when giggling – can be extremely demanding). It allows my mind to let go of the many balls that I’m currently keeping in the air, and to simply unwind.
When I walk by myself, I can reconnect to my own inner voice and wisdom. During this time, I often come up to solutions to issues that have been niggling at the back of my mind, even if I’m not consciously focusing on them Just giving my self some freedom from every day responsibilities allows my mind to find its own solutions.
Walking alone allows me to think deeply, to come up with new ideas, and to set priorities, goals, and dreams. It was while I was walking that I came to a breakthrough in my dissertation research. I was walking when I decided to start Everyday Mindful Living.** I’ve planned out articles while walking, made life plans, come to major decisions, and pondered deep truths. I even spent the better part of my two very-long childbirth labors walking mile after mile after mile as I prepared to meet my little ones.
A solitary walk helps me to maintain perspective by allowing me to take both a literal and a metaphysical step back from my everyday concerns. After a walk, I’m no longer mentally overwhelmed; the constant chatter of my mind has had time to quiet. When I return, I find that I’m back in touch with my own spirit and refreshed.
I enjoy walking with my family, and we frequently spend time outside together, but walking alone is truly magical. It’s one of the small ways I re-center and take care of me. If you’re not in the habit of walking alone, give it a try. You might find that you too will try to make it a weekly routine.
**UPDATE: This site used to be called Everyday Mindful Living. It is now called Everyday Intentional Living (you can read about the reason behind the name change HERE).