Walking for self-help
It sounds like quite a few of us had a pretty blah start to the year. Speaking to my yogis and others there was a lot of stress-related illness, exhaustion, overwhelm and negative self talk. I also went though quite a nasty patch of it brought on by high stress leading to poor digestion leading to low vitamins and minerals in the body (the same were high in Ryo's blood tests, so we were eating right).
Teaching yoga helped. Every class helped me though another part of another day. I loved, and still love, the calm and the structure that teaching gives my life. But I couldn't really increase my teaching hours due to exhaustion.
At the worst of it, I decided I really needed to change something or things were really not going to be good.
I had found that walking helped, but I was particularly poor at getting myself out to walk. If I did go out, I'd end up sitting under trees thinking myself deeper into the morass. Much time was spent half asleep on the couch trying to convince myself to go out to walk or even to shop. One day it took over 2 hours to get myself to the supermarket to buy food I needed for visitors the next night. A mixture of anxiety, exhaustion and lack of motivation.
I am terrible at doing things for myself, but good at doing things for others or as a 'job'. I also needed to start building my walking to increase my fitness for the next Japan Mindfulness Tour because we walked so much on the last one.
So I decided to deliver pamphlets. When I signed up, you could choose once or twice a week, so I chose once so I didn't push too hard and thereby increase the physical overwhelm I'd been experiencing. Of course, that's not how the world works and apparently it's too much of a pain for the coordinators to have different people do each run, so I deliver twice a week.
At first I was a little more tired, but after a couple of weeks I was feeling more energised and more positive. Exercise if good for both of these things. On top of that, there was the vitamin D I was also getting while walking. So good for stress, anxiety and depression. It also meant I was more tired so more likely to sleep through instead of being wide awake after only 3 hours sleep. It also meant that twice a week I'm getting more than 10,000 steps which is a good base to start building for Japan so we have the stamina for all the walking :)
At the same time, I had also seen a naturopath so was sorting out my biochemistry. I have a couple of 'broken' biochemical processes that make it difficult to absorb zinc, B6 and B12 - all so important for mood and stress. My sleep was a mess, making mood worse with extra high cortisol on waking and none left by mid-afternoon leading to exhaustion. These high stress levels impaired my digestion so it was even harder to absorb the required nutrients.
Adequate sleep lead to better digestion, lead to better sleep, lead to better digestion. Better sleep and better digestion lead to less anxiety and less feelings of overwhelm. This lead to a better ability to think and speak (although anyone at sunset yoga the other day may disagree with this!! lol).
I am making sure I get a greater variety of different foods in each day to help my gut to continue to heal. I'm trying to get the Japanese ideal of 40 different ingredients per day. Ingredients being things that are actual foods and do not have an ingredient list of their own.
But my walking is a key. Without it I would have stayed inside stressed. Now I'm out. I hear the birds singing. I see the great cloud formations and bright blue sky. I see the interesting plants people have and get ideas for how to do the garden. I've also learnt what kind of letterbox is best. I meet lots of different puppies, see the kitties of the area and even managed to provide conversation to a few of the older people in the area who love their junk mail and a chat.
If you hate junk mail, please be sure to put a sign out, because I cannot imagine us ever using less paper in this world unless people have their no junk mail stickers out. (I am thinking of making a series of these stickers: "No Junk Mail except Aldi catalogue" as this is the most common request I get from people who I speak to while on the rounds lol)
If you have a dog, take it for a walk. If the kids or grandkids visit, go for a walk. If you are free in the early morning or late afternoon, go for a walk. Take the time to walk, to enjoy your local area, get some vitamin D, and improve your mood. If you are looking at going to Japan at all, and especially if with us on our next Japan Mindfulness Tour then, start walking! Get the stamina you need to keep your enthusiasm through the trip and find which shoes are comfy in which season so you can make the most of your time there.