I am like a lot of people in that my eating habits (and drink habits…I love my wine!) are very much driven by my emotions. I work out regularly and that really does help keep me on track. I can have a horrible day, but an hour at the gym and I feel fantastic! All those great endorphins, not to mention the huge stress release.
But you can’ t workout all the time or what about rest days? I have a lot of friends who are really into yoga or meditation and I am true believer in their amazing benefits. I have tried both and have never been able to really stick with a practice for either. I always feel amazing after, but neither are something I really am motivated to do. Yoga I will occasionally get into the routine of doing – I have a Saturday morning class that I get to now and then. I have a rally hard time slowing down and in particular, “quieting my mind” – which is why I guess is why they call it a “practice.” But I know I am not alone in not being able to commit to this.
I have been having a rather rough time lately. I have a lot going on and I have been feeling rather stressed and overwhelmed. I even just had an amazing vacation and Day 1 back was a disaster! Totally killed my post vaca zen! HA! So this Sunday was a gorgeous day here in NY. Instead of going to the gym, I took a really long walk. Likely not the workout I would have had as compared to my normal Sunday spinning class, but mentally it did the world for me!
Even just walking, I tend to walk fast so I am sure I burned some calories and a little burst of endorphins is always a good thing. But more than that it just felt good to move, to get some fresh air and to feel the sun on my face. I listened to some great tunes and just got lost in my own world.
Walking for me is like meditation – I can totally get lost in the moment and can actually clear my thoughts when needed. Something I can’t seem to do with yoga or meditation. The other thing that walking really helps with, is that it allows me time (without distraction) to actually think about things. Whether it’s working out a problem or coming up with ideas, walking is my best time to do it. And in my own weird, type A personality…it is healthy multi-tasking! I work out my issues, spend time outside and get a bit of a workout all at the same time! I know that sounds a bit nuts, but it works for me.
The point being that I think we all have to find what works for us. I have spent years trying to make myself like yoga or meditation and I can’t say I will never do them or never enjoy them or that they will never one day be a part of my daily routine. But just like I will never be a marathon runner, it does not mean there are not other ways of meeting my physical goals or that I don’t occasionally like to run. Walking has become my “meditation” – it calms me, it clears my head and boosts my mood when I really need it. Even at work, it someone really annoys me and I am upset, I find if I can take 10 minutes away from my desk and just walk around the block, it sort of reset things. It really truly can be that simple!
We all have stress in our life and we have to find healthy ways to deal with it. For me, walking makes me feel good and also helps me to stick to my healthy habits. Before my walk on Sunday I wanted to lay on couch and each mint chocolate chip ice cream! After my walk, I felt energized and relaxed and actually craved veges and water!
So next time you have a bad day, put on those sneakers and walk it out!