On an average day, I take two short walks in my neighborhood. I do this for exercise, for a physical boost or a mental break or to work off stress. On especially sunny, joyfully beautiful days, I keep going out again because I just can’t keep myself away.
But I also walk on one or more of my usual short routes near my house whatever the weather, as long as it’s not pouring. I do it in cold, heat, sprinkles, wind, and several times of the day, including that gray, chilly time between sunset and dark. The worse the weather, the shorter the route — sometimes just around the block. But I do it.
And on these walks I see a lot of people. Other adults out alone; couples; packs of teenagers walking home from high school; families out with their kids, sometimes some of them on bikes; and frequently there are one or more dogs included in these groups.
I especially see a person and his or her dog out at those less than ideal times. When it’s starting to rain a little, or the wind kicks up so hard you hide your face, or when it’s almost dark. We all come out when it’s nice, but it’s the dogs and their people that are there in the not so nice times, every time.
Okay, get ready. You know it’s coming because I like to find some kind of moral in my stories. So here are two things I thought about when I realized that it’s usually the dog walkers that are as diehard as I am about walking pretty much every day, usually twice, almost no matter what.
- I walk myself, the way other people walk their dogs. I don’t make many excuses, because I know it’s essential. Hence, just like I’ve often thought that some of the ways I need to care for myself are like a parent caring for their child, I resolutely fit in my walks, because I need them. So I am, in a sense, my own dog.
The only difference is, I promise, I don’t — ahem– leave anything behind in the bushes.
But for me walking is almost as urgent, for different reasons, so I just do it.
- This made me think about what we give priority to. Most people will do things for their children, their spouse, and even their dog, that they might not make time to do for themselves.
So this is my call for all the self-neglecting out there to fit self-care, whatever that means for you, into your week, your day, and your life. (And in my opinion that should definitely include exercise if you want to live longer and feel better, physically and mentally.) Make it a routine you won’t miss unless there’s a rainstorm.
And if there is, pick another way to take care of yourself. If I can’t go outside, I bounce on my rebounder in my living room.
And by the way, having a pet can also be a kind of self-care. Some people even get a dog so they’ll have to exercise.
So, I am my own dog. Sounds like a good book title. Or part of a comedy routine. Or maybe a blog post. Those are probably lousy keywords for ranking on Google, as I’m learning in my content marketing course, but the poet in me can’t resist using phrases that sing to me.
Next time, I’ll write about something else I learned from my walks. Since this blog is called “Read. Think. Walk. Write,” that’s not exactly a surprise.
In the meantime, what do you do for yourself, no matter what? What will you start doing?