I started to make a conscious effort about two years ago. It was winter and I only managed a few days before there was a really prolonged spell of rain. Then I got a horrid cold. When all that was over, I made another start. I kept at it. And slowly but surely, I made it a routine. Now, it’s so much of a routine, I feel sufficiently guilty if I miss. It’s simple, but effective.
I try to take a walk for just twenty minutes a day.
Oh, I know it doesn’t sound particularly impressive. There will be fitness freaks and gym lovers out there snorting into their coffee. But, you know, I’m pretty happy with it.
You see, I don’t do it for the exercise as such – I’m well aware that although twenty minutes a day is better than nothing, it’s hardly likely to have a huge impact on my fitness levels.
Mainly, I use this short walk for thinking, for chuntering to myself about stuff that’s annoyed/annoying me (believe me, twenty minutes is never long enough!) and for giving myself a talking-to over whatever I need a talking-to about. Goodness knows what anyone who passes me must think as I wander along muttering to myself 🙂
I enjoy listening to the birds singing. And the other day, there was a squirrel sitting on a branch, looking down and chattering furiously at a spot below. I couldn’t work out what was down there making him so cross, but the following day, he was in exactly the same place doing exactly the same thing, as though he’d been there the whole twenty-four hours. He made me smile.
When I was working full time, I would walk during my lunch break. I found it therapeutic to be out of the building and get some fresh air. After I cut my hours a few months ago, I didn’t have that inbuilt excuse because I no longer had a lunch hour, so I have to make a more conscious effort now.
Waiting until I’ve finished work is no good – like any sensible Englishwoman, I just want to go home and have a nice cup of tea. Instead, I try to set off for work half an hour early and drive to somewhere maybe five to ten minutes away from my workplace. This limits me to just a couple of places: a walk along a wooded pathway (nice in summer but it can get a little dank and dreary in the winter when the trees are bare) or a local tarn which, fortunately, takes exactly twenty minutes to walk around. It sets me up for the day, and I find that on days when I haven’t had the chance, for whatever reason, I get cranky that little bit quicker.
Weekends are different, of course. I may not get out at all, or I may end up doing a much longer walk if hubby and I happen to be out and about. I find that tagging it onto something else makes it much easier than forcing myself out of the house just for the sake of it to walk around a fairly uninteresting local park. Today, for example, we needed to nip to the garden centre, but we stopped off on the way for a walk along the canal. And it meant that I could legitimately witter on, because I had a real live person beside me to listen!
Is there anybody else out there who uses their walk as a therapy session? I’d love to know that I’m not the only one!