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Why walking could be the easiest (and cheapest) way to take care of your mental health

Taking it step by step

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I discovered many new things over the past two years. I discovered I’m rubbish at baking and I love painting. Most of all, I discovered that I love walking. And I mean love walking – I would go so far as to say it’s my favourite past time, alongside napping and taking baths. And during the darker days of the pandemic, when daily walks served as the only reminder of the outside world, I found walking to be a bit of a life line when it came to mental health.

There is something incredibly grounding about walking, especially among nature (I live in London, so when I say nature, I just mean anywhere with a little patch of grass and a tree or two), where you can breathe fresh air, absorb natural sunlight and put your phone away for a few liberating moments. 

Plus, I found it really helps to establish perspective at times when everything seems completely overwhelming. There is still so much life and beauty all around us, and it exists outside of the insular little worlds we create for ourselves (which were made all the smaller due to lockdown) and it’s good to remember this as much as we can.

It was reassuring to hear the birds twittering, watch the grass blowing in the wind, and see squirrels squirrelling totally oblivious and utterly unfazed by the prospect of a global pandemic, imminent economic crisis and all of the pain and suffering caused by recent global events. That’s not to diminish them – on the contrary, finding emotional relief can help us become better equipped at facing our fears head on as well as expand out capacity for compassion for others. 

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