How to make your dog walks more mindful
Mindfulness. It seems to be everywhere right now. Having quiet time where you can be really present is good for stress levels, sleep, and subsequently your health – both physically and mentally. So why do we find it so difficult?
I’ve tried a few things over the years. From the mediation apps to just being still for 10 minutes a day. The only thing that has worked for me though has been my morning walks. I love walking on a morning, its a great way to start the day. I did find though that I was sometimes guilty of falling into that trap where you are so busy checking your instagram or emails that you can’t even remeber being on the walk. This motivated me to make some changes to get the most out of my dog walk. At the same time nailing this whole mindfulness thing.
Here’s my top five tips for you to try
1. Leave the phone at home.
Its tempting to wake up and check you phone immediately. When we do, all those messages we need to reply to or how many likes we have gotten on instagram over night all increase our stress levels. I find if you get out with the dog before looking at your phone, you really do have a clearer mind.
Now for me personally, this tip is a little metaphorical as I don’t feel right going out with Willow without my phone, just in case something happens. If you are the same, just grab your phone without looking at it and throw in your pocket.
2. Actually look around.
I know this sounds obvious, but what I mean is really look around. Notice the seasonal differences. The colour of the leaves on the trees. The flowers that are out. Look for birds, bees and other insects. This is a great way to improve mindfulness. Not only are you just more present on your walk, but you are also becoming more in tune with nature. I’m a huge Hygge fan so this really works for me.
If you struggle with this, a good idea to get started is to pick a colour that you will try and spot. For example if you choose pink, spot the cherry blossom, the pink flowers and pink hues in the sky. If you wanted to take this one stage further, you could take a little note pad with you and keep a note of all the things you’ve observed. Take a look at this blog on how and why to start a meditation journal
3. Listen too.
This is something that some of the teachers at my yoga studio use when in my all time fave pose – shavasana. (the bit where you get to lay down) Start by focusing on the noises close in such as your breath, footsteps, your dog, and then listen for sounds further out, examples being: birds, cars, wind etc. Again it makes you just so much more present and in tune with nature.
4. Mix up your route.
I’m a massive creature of habit. I do the same route over and over, via starbucks for my almond milk latte. However, it does pay to mix it up. Go off the beaten track. Take a new turn you don’t normally and see where it leads you.
This is a great one to do if you’ve really mastered the previous two tips and want to start branching out. One thing I’ve done in the past is allow Willow to lead the walk, follow her where she wants to go. Imagine how happy your pooch will be too getting to choose where their morning walk takes them.
4. Listen to a short story podcast
OK, this does contradict the no phone rule and the listening to nature. If, however you really struggle with the silence, or likewise if you’ve done the above for the first half of your walk but now want to slowly start allowing outside noise or influencers in, then podcasts are a great idea
Short story podcasts are great if you want that excapism. There are some great ones here covering all kinds of genre’s. Another good resource is the Ted talks as you can tap into the subjects you want. The most fitting here being mindfulness tips or how to start your day great or tap into gratitude.
I hope you’ve got at least one new thing to try out of this blog. You can also check out other ideas here. Do you have other ideas that have worked for you?