The weather is warming up (at least in most places?) and it’s a great time to get outdoors to enjoy nature and fresh air (wearing masks when needed). I enjoy this spring transition time as I am reminded of new beginnings and appreciate the energy around a fresh start.
As I took a long walk with my pup, I practiced mindfulness in a few ways and it reminded me of how important it is to be fully engaged in each moment. Here are a few ways you can practice mindfulness next time you are outdoors for a walk or run:
- notice the colors around you: take note of the trees, houses, cars, roadway, and other objects. Take a mental note of how many colors you can identify while you are outside.
- connect with your sense of smell: maybe your neighbor has food on the outdoor grill, maybe you walk by a restaurant, or maybe you can smell the grass after rainfall. Take note of what you can smell during your time outside. It may be a bit challenging if you are wearing a mask – in that case, if you can safely pull your mask down (eg., when you are not close to others) for a second to take a deep inhale that would be a great way to connect with your sense of smell!
- find something new: this is a great way to use beginner’s mind to see your environment as if you have never seen it before. Observe what you pass along the way, and if you normally take the same route, look around to see if there’s anything you have not noticed before.
- slow down the pace of your movement: if you are running then you can slow down for a minute to notice how your feet make contact with the surface. If you are walking, you can also slow down to notice the way your feet lift and make contact with the surface. If this seems appropriate, you may want to take your shoes off for a bit so your bare feet can touch the grass or roadway for a second or two.
- enjoy the silence: most times you may have headphones or earbuds in listening to music, an audiobook, or your favorite podcasts. If so, pause what you are listening to for a minute and take out your earbuds or headphones and just enjoy being without additional sound for a while. Notice what you can hear around you and pay attention to any sounds in nature (eg., birds or dog barks).
I hope this spring season brings new opportunities and new beginnings for you!