Some time ago a ViREO Life community member asked me about how I use my walking time. She also shared her ideas, which I'll include below, too.
- Focused Problem-Solving: Take a question/issue in my mind plus an index card (old school) or smartphone (new school) and allow the question to roll over gently in my head. No pressure to solve it, just let it be there. Usually by the end of the walk I'll have a few ideas written on the card or recorded into the smartphone.
- Mindful/Awareness Break - External: To occupy my mind with something completely opposite solving issues, I'll try to notice as much in nature as I can. I always had trouble with this until Doug taught me how. I would usually be pre-occupied with thinking through things, that I would not see squirrels or birds (unless it was unusual, like a heron in the middle of a field). As we walk he points out animals and plants and I am now noticing nature on my own.
- Mindful/Awareness Break - Internal: This one came more naturally to me. While walking I'll pay attention to releasing any tension in my shoulders or back or abdomen. Sometimes I'll breathe deeply to a count of 4-6 to relax.
- Work Meeting: A favorite way to get brainstorming done with co-workers is to walk and talk. This is now such a universal productivity trick it is not a trick anymore. On this morning's walk I went into a city area and heard at least 3 sets of co-workers creatively discussing work while walking (actually one set jogged past me talking work).
- Prayer and Confession Time: Most mornings I do not get all of the praying or scripture confessions I want to do during my "devotion" time...so I enjoy talking with God or quoting His Word while I walk.
- Daydream: This is something I've done since childhood while walking. As a kid I would walk and talk with my imaginary friends about my future. (Give me some slack. I grew up on a farm. It was either talk to imaginary friends or cows.) Now when I walk I still daydream out loud, but my imaginary friends don't have names now.
Thank you, Vanessa McPeak, for asking for this. And thank you for allowing me to share what you do, as well.
"I love this time. It is a time for me. Some times I go alone, sometimes I get my hubby to join me. It doesn't matter as I love both scenarios. I commune with nature during this time. I silence myself and pray and listen for God's message to me. I take this time to thank God for my many blessings and to practice gratitude. I talk to the deer who are grazing in the yards. I make way for the numerous geese crossing the road in front of me. I feel the breeze, smell the smells, hear the sounds of nature. Some times I work thru issues, some times I place a call to my mom and we catch up.
However I spend my walk I always end up happier than before I went. It is good for me in countless ways!" - Vanessa McPeak
Now it is your turn - How do you maximize the time and pleasure of your walks?