why walking got me through the pandemic

The past year sucked. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. How does one deal with the onslaught of situations, emotions, audibles, and tragedy? I often times found myself feeling under water. I was lucky enough to continue working from home, and I want to make clear how grateful I am for that, but it does not mean that this did not introduce its own set of new variables to contend with.

We got the notification in mid March to move to a work from home schedule. Two weeks later my daughter’s daycare closed. My wife is a healthcare worker so she had to continue going into work. All of the sudden there were more meetings, a need for greater productivity, and a (then) 16 month-old needing the attention a 16 month-old requires. Thankfully my in-laws helped a bunch, a true godsend. But with this new stress, the anxiety of a family member working in healthcare, the tragic news of so much pain and death around us, and no end in sight, it was (and still is) a lot.

I took it outside. I prioritized at least one walk a day. My daughter and I would look for rabbits and dogs on our walks. We would marvel at the cars and laugh as the stroller bounced over the worn and neglected sidewalks. The outdoors has always been medicine for me. If I can impart anything to my kids, it will be that they simply have to go back to nature to find peace and comfort. We would go around the neighborhood and to local parks. I would strap her in the backpack to go to some local reserves and on some small hikes. We just got out.

Sometimes the outdoors can be intimidating because it is quieter. While some crave it, others fear it. When thing are quiet around us it makes the noise inside our brains more noticeable. We cannot drown out the internal monologue when it’s just the birds chirping and the wind rustling the trees. I would encourage us to take a leap and go for that. We cannot work through our own thoughts and issues if we don’t listen to and address them. This is what these walks did for me. I worked through the concern for the health of our country. I worked through the anxiety of work. I let my daughter and I connect to the environment around us, peeling away the layers of emotions that parenting can form. It was huge.

Don’t let the changing environment stop you. Get out, go for a walk, deal with your thoughts, and work to get to a better place. Work can wait, the dishes can wait, and email can wait. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Let nature help.

One thought on “why walking got me through the pandemic

  1. Sadly, I didn’t get out and walk too much. My four-legged companion of 16 years wasn’t with me this time around, and I just couldn’t bear going for walks without her. It was too fresh.

    But yes, walks sometimes help clear the mind, or, as you mentioned, bring too much to the mind. LOL.


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