99% of the time, the dogs and I are out the door first thing in the morning. We go despite snow, rain, heat, or darkness. Well, almost, I will admit that we are not as dedicated as the post office. If it’s a downpour without an end in sight, its a dash outdoors and right back in kind of “walk.”
In winter months, our days of dashing out and right back in are more common. Last night we had pouring down rain and thunder that woke me up more than once, so I knew that that a walk in the morning would be iffy. I had to coax the dogs to go out to go the bathroom. They did the barre minimum and then quickly dashed back inside. It can make for a grumpier type of day for all three of us when we don’t get in our full morning walk.
The morning walk ritual has become a vital part of my morning routine. Getting outside to stretch my legs, breathe deep, clear the cobwebs out, and get the blood pumping is something I’ve come to crave each day.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir (Etsy)
On our morning walks, the dogs get to sniff, smell, and explore to their heart’s content. To a point, anyway. I’m often having to tell (or yell) them to “Leave it!” or “Come!” or “Don’t eat that!”.
They stop and take a closer look at anything that catches their fancy, and I have to wait. Then I find something that catches my fancy. Now it’s the dogs turn to wait while I take a picture or two. Most of the time, we are patient with each other. Sometimes they (mostly Oliver) get bored and keep heading on down the trail. I have more than one fuzzy picture from looking up to check on them mid-picture taking.
Getting outside for our morning walk is like a daily reset. It’s a time to just be, to let the worries of the day fade away, be present and in the moment. My brain starts to slow it’s whirring. It’s a time for prayer and a time for my sub-conscious to get to work on solving problems I’ve been struggling with. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve found the answer to a question on a morning walk.
I’m fortunate in where I live that within minutes we can arrive at a great area to walk and explore. Out back there a short forested trail in the field behind me. Or I can load us all into the car and drive to several locations where we can walk along the beach, the bay, or go out and explore the dunes. In most of the places we walk, we see few if any people and the dogs can roam off-leash. It’s one of the many reasons I live where I do.
When I’m traveling or visiting family, I like to check and see if it’s a walking neighborhood or if I need to find a local park for us to visit. I try to find a spot nearby to stretch our legs, breathe deep, and stay in our routine.
Spending even just a few minutes outside has been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Increase creativity
- Lower blood pressure
- Restore mental energy
- Improve concentration
And so much more.
I’ve certainly found this to be true.
Except for that time Bailey decided to try and bite a porcupine, but that is a story for another day…
During the day if I feel stuck, it’s a signal that it’s time for a break and often that break is taken outside. Going outside gives my brain a break from focusing and concentrating so hard. I find it often helps me calm down in the midst of a stressful day and gives me a new perspective. And, it makes the dogs super happy.
Spending time outside is a gift, take advantage of it!
How do you feel after being stuck inside for a long time? Can you spend time outside today? Even if it’s only for a few minutes, it’s worth it!
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.