With Spring Around the Corner, You’re Days Away From Stepping Out of Stress, by James E. “Jed” Foster, Jr., MA, LMFT
I’ve always loved hiking. Whether ascending a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado, or finding a local trail with some hills. Walking – just walking – never did it for me. Maybe I always felt like I had something more important to do, or maybe it was the slower pace. Why walk when you can ride, right? That’s all changed. All it took was a pandemic.
My love of walking started about 2 years ago, shortly after we all started wearing masks, wiping down groceries, and spending nearly all of our time trying to navigate working from home, flexing to remote schooling for our children, and learning more about PPE and sanitizer than we’d ever cared to know. About 2 weeks into lockdown, I knew I needed something safe, quiet, and healthy to fill the gaping hole left by gyms shutting down. Enter walking. My wife and I dusted off our sneakers and walked. We found the quiet streets had a lot to offer us. We decided on only one rule: “no serious topics while we’re walking.” We needed to keep it light when everything else was so heavy.
By June, I’m pretty sure my Siri felt my phone had been hijacked, due to the stats mounting in the health app and a cardio app I follow. “You’re walking more than 97% of all users across all ages” read Cardiogram’s metrics. I saw my resting and walking heartrates drop and my VO2max rise. I watched all 3 rings on my Apple Watch close 4-6 days a week. I lost some weight, was getting sun on my face, and began to appreciate the beauty around me. But the most important thing that walking gave me was a mindful break that kept me sane during the insanity. Whether I was concentrating on the pace of my steps in the hopes of averaging 4mph, listening to my favorite music, or enjoying connecting with my wife; our various routes through our village to Starbucks, Pete’s, or just strolling around a golf course became my solace. After walking, I felt refreshed, calm, focused, and ready to take on whatever was headed my way. I was feeling less stress. I was feeling less anxious. It was…mindfulness at work.
Two years later, I look back and see some of the walks in 6 degree weather, or days when it was raining sideways and think to myself, “I used to think people who did this were crazy.” Now of course I know it keeps them sane. I can’t imagine my life without mindful walking anymore. In fact, I went out and got myself another partner in crime. Meet Windy. She likes walking too.
The following is a wonderful article from Prevention that is full of some great ideas about how to get started with stepping off stress and mindfully claiming some health and serenity along the way.
Jed is a licensed psychotherapist that continues to be both amazed by and drawn to the mind-body connection. Check in on his blogs for news, information, tips, and commentary on topics related to – but not limited to – the mind-gut connection, behavioral therapy, gut-directed hypnotherapy, weight management, positive psychology, stress reduction, anxiety, depression, overall well-being, and anything else he feels patients will benefit from learning. Jed is actively accepting new patients. Call 224.407.4400 today and begin your journey to better health and enhanced overall well-being.
Latest posts by James E. “Jed” Foster, Jr., MA-LMFT (see all)
- With Spring Around the Corner, You’re Days Away From Stepping Out of Stress, by James E. “Jed” Foster, Jr., MA, LMFT - May 9, 2022
- Stay on Target: You don’t have to let holidays knock you off your game. By Jed Foster, LMFT - May 9, 2022
- Stay on Target: A daily guide to keeping that New Year’s Resolution By James E. “Jed” Foster, Jr., MA, LMFT - May 9, 2022