Inside: Why mindful walking is so beneficial and how to get started with mindful walking.
We all know that being a mother is a full-time job. While nothing can compare to the joy a child brings to moms everywhere, motherhood involves a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
So, it’s only natural for mothers to feel frustrated and anxious from time to time — especially in the middle of a global crisis.
However, it’s important for moms to find healthy ways to let go of stress.
Psychology Today points out that stress can lead to short-term health issues like headaches, muscle aches, and stomach pain, as well as long-term repercussions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health problems.
Not being able to find a break from the stress of motherhood will eventually affect your child, too.
So, what can mothers do to let go of stress?
One GREAT way for mothers to find respite is by practicing mindfulness and using it to elevate everyday activities — like walking.
Keep reading, because we’ve drafted up a short guide on the whys and the hows of mindful walking for moms.
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The Wonders of Mindful Walking
In our post on ‘What is Mindfulness? The Complete Guide’, we explained how mindfulness is a meditative state wherein you’re engaged with an activity while being fully conscious of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
At the same time, you’re also aware that this task does not control you or dictate how you feel. It’s all about being focused on the present, and letting go of past and future experiences.
When mindfulness is applied to a seemingly low-impact physical activity like walking, it elevates the experience and amplifies the activity’s physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
And for moms, doing this can certainly help improve our day-to-day lives.
Why Mindful Walking is So Beneficial
Not everyone can keep a happy facade throughout the day — especially moms who primarily take care of their families.
We don’t need to pretend to be perfect and okay all the time. And I’m so passionate about this topic, I’ve written an article on why we need to STOP trying to be perfect.
That’s why it’s important to do an activity like mindful walking whenever you’re feeling a little bogged down.
Fresh air is a great medicine. It might be just what the doctor ordered.
Here’s the fantastic news:
Healthline stresses that your happy hormone levels increase when you do mindful meditation. And when this is done simultaneously with physical activity that helps relieve stress — such as walking — it can give you a much-deserved mood boost and allow you to take on more tasks throughout your day.
More importantly, a lot of moms might feel disconnected from their bodies shortly after giving birth. With mindful walking, you are encouraged to reconnect with your body and build a healthy relationship with it.
This allows you to take better care of yourself by being mindful of your movement and posture.
How to Practice Mindful Walking
1. Figure out your why
Before you engage in mindful walking, it’s important to first figure out why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve out of it.
Do you want to reduce stress? Do you want to connect with your child? Do you want to practice mindfulness? Do you want to exercise?
Setting goals and expectations can better ease this activity into your life, especially if you want to make a habit out of it.
2. Pick a safe walking route and grab some comfortable gear
Be sure to find a walking route where you can feel safe and at peace with yourself.
Nothing will pull you out of the present moment faster than feeling unsafe and constantly looking over your shoulder.
It also helps to have the right gear, like the ‘mom’ shoes from Nike and New Balance, which are durable, comfortable and can give your feet the ample support they need.
3. Ground yourself
Find a peaceful location where you can purposely ground yourself.
Grounding is crucial in all forms of meditation. It will help acclimate your mind into finding peace from outside factors — whether it’s from a crying baby, an unfinished to-do list, or a pile of paperwork.
To ground yourself, try noticing how you’re currently positioned and envision yourself connecting with the earth.
As you do this, clear your head of any negative emotions, and ready your body and mind for a session of mindful walking.
4. Start Slowly
Start slowly with mindful walking by taking slow, deep breaths.
While posture is of utmost importance, being too restrictive with how you walk can take you out of the experience.
Walk at your natural pace, take a few steps, and find a walking position where you’re comfortable without compromising your posture.
It might take a few tries to find something that feels natural, but you’ll eventually get there.
It might be helpful to count steps up to 7 and then start counting again. Notice the lifting and falling of your foot, the feeling of your legs moving, the sensation of the ground under your feet.
Your mind will wander to other things but gently pull it back to noticing the sensation of walking.
Once you find a comfortable walking pace that works for you, continue your mindful walking practice until you’ve had your fill.
Tune in. Take time to tune into all your senses – smell, taste, sound, sight, and feel. What is happening around you? What can you smell? What can you hear? What sounds do you notice? What colors are you seeing? What can you taste in the air? How do you feel?
5. Engage Your Senses
As we’ve mentioned, you must pay attention to how your body feels in relation to its surroundings to be successful in this practice.
- Start to notice the sounds around you. Are there birds chirping? Cars in the distance? Kids playing?
- Pay attention to anything you can smell. Can you smell spring in the air? Fresh flowers?
- What do you see? Notice colors and objects.
Just take the time to notice. You don’t need to change anything, or do anything. It’s just noticing and walking.
If you find yourself getting distracted, try to stop for a few breaths, and ground yourself again. Then, keep that awareness until you finish your walk.
You can tweak this guide to suit your personal preferences, but keep the key elements of grounding yourself and being comfortable as these two things are so important to enhance your mindful walking experience.
Take a few minutes to give your brain a break…don’t leave without snagging your Free Meditation Starter Kit which includes 7 pages of meditation’s most FAQs, along with a printable meditation cheat sheet and journal. And who reading this right now doesn’t need a break? If you’re ready for a healthier, happier mind, then say #heckyeah!
Getting Your Kids Involved
The great thing about mindful walking is that you can also take your kids with you and introduce them to the concept of mindfulness.
If you’d love a more comprehensive explanation of mindful walking with kids, please check out our in-depth post on how to make a simple walk with your child an exciting safari adventure.
For the first few months of babies’ lives, they are very much attached to their mothers all the time, and it’s important to nurture this bond as they grow.
You can already start with your mindfulness practice as you carry them from one place to another — taking in the present feeling of moving as one with your baby.
And once you’re comfortable bringing them outdoors, why not take them out to the park?
Being out in nature can help your babies grow in a number of ways — from helping establish healthy sleeping patterns to strengthening their immune system.
Just be sure to keep them safe and comfortable as you take your stroll. To this end, the strollers listed on iCandy highlight the importance of a superior build, which can let you navigate various types of terrain with ease as you go from pavement to grass.
Look for units that also let you install accessories like parasols to keep your child safe from the sun, as well as shopping baskets to carry their things easily. These can let you and your child get the full benefits of your mindful walk outside.
Going for a mindful walk can do so much more than just take out the stress that you experience on the daily. Other than helping you connect with your body, you can also build and strengthen your bond with your child when you bring them with you on your mindful walks.
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