Pippa Takes a Walk

 I’ve recently begun to take walks in the morning (when I say recently I mean yesterday). The idea of daily walks has been the focus of my thoughts for a while. Walking is both a need and a want. It’s time I took care of this area of my life.

Earlier in the fall, I took a class on Deep Revision from Katey Schultz and one of the things she talked about was the need for movement. Even when doing things other than writing, getting up and getting physical is important to keep the creative juices flowing.

Walking is good for so many things and I’ve been avoiding it. I have found a yoga class that I really like, but it only meets once per week. I need more than that to relieve stress, to keep my energy up among other reasons. This winter has given us the gift of being mild and I want to take advantage of this.

So, I took some steps:

I found my watch. Exercise is the only time I wear one and I often have to search for it.

I laid out my clothing, including shoes and iPod, to be ready to go.

My alarm always goes off during what feels like the middle of the night. Most of the time I simply ignore it. The snooze button is my frenemy.

I was as ready as I could be when the morning came.

Shoes on, jacket zipped, and flashlight in hand I head out forgetting one thing.

Pippa likes to go outside.

 As long as it isn’t raining or too cold, she wants to be out in the fresh air. The morning air was damp and cool but no rain. She was raring to go.

I stood at the door and she positioned herself in a straight shot for the door. As soon as I opened it, she was outside. I thought she would run off to see what she could see.

Nope.

I started my watch and began my 30-minute walk. She followed me.

She has a collar with a bell which she hates and tries to take off whenever she can. On this particular morning, I was glad she was wearing it. Because she followed me – the entire way.

I took my music but never turned it on. My only music was the tractors, the creek that remained unfrozen and the tinkle of Pippa’s collar. It was quite enjoyable as I walked in the dark.

She stayed with me the entire way. Sometimes she would stop and sniff, do a bit of exploring but soon she would be right near me as I walked. She did slow down as we got closer to home.

 Pippa followed me all the way inside. She needed a snuggle and a nap. It was a long walk for her and she’s not very big. She earned a long sleep.

I wonder if she is part dog.

The walk was amazing for me and stirred the words within. Amazing how that works.

Friday Five: Stress Busters

balance-110850_1280Stress is a crazy thing. It comes, we process, and, if we are lucky, it goes. We aren’t always that lucky.

One of my old professors once said, “there is no such thing as no stress.” I am beginning to see this in my own life. Beneficial stress, often called eustress, still can cause havoc in the body just as “bad” stress can. The question is what to do with it.

In recent months, I’ve been dealing with the effects of stress on my body. I have discovered that even the act of writing this post causes a few issues that have built up over time.

The pain that this build-up has caused sent me to the doctor. Currently, I am seeing a physical therapist and massage therapist and, though not healed, I can feel a difference.

It is not enough.

Now, I must deal with the causes of this pain. The process isn’t easy. I’ve known for a little while that my life is out of balance. My body gives me these cues and I can no longer ignore them.

Relaxation is high on my list of priorities. Here are five ways I may be using to help me with this priority:

1. Yoga – This has a two-fold benefit. One, yoga automatically stretches the body helping it to work better. Two, yoga is about breath, which can help with stress levels. There are many more benefits, but these are the ones I will focus on for now.

2. Walking – Again, there are lots of benefits besides getting my butt up off the couch – or writing chair. Physical movement can help release the tension stored in the body.

3. Hot Baths – I’m not normally a bath person, but a good soak with salt and essential oils can do wonders for a body.

4. Unplug – I’m hearing more and more about turning electronics off. I’ve even heard the recommendation to turn off the WIFI at night. I can do this – not sure if everyone can – I just forget to do it. One way I have added this to my life is that my new writing space doesn’t have electricity (yet) nor can it receive the WIFI signal from my house. I don’t spend a lot of time out there, but for me its a start.

5. Do Nothing – This one may be the hardest of all. after all who has the time to just sit and do nothing? Doing nothing may be a relative term. Doing nothing may be a few moments of sitting outside and watching the world go by. It may be that you pick up that book, find a comfy chair and read for a while. It may be some form of doodling. The main point for me is telling myself it’s okay to not worry about my to-do list at the moment. Yep, that’s the hard one.

Each of these is a doable option. Your list may look different, but I believe everyone should have one. Our bodies, and minds, can only take so much before we begin to break down. And, I’ve discovered it happens quicker as we age.

It’s time.

Challenge: Create your own list of doable ways to help you bust some stress.