One of my goals for the blog this year was to narrow my focus, or niche. Though Walks With Rama is a dog blog, it’s much more than that. The correlation between dealing with my own stuff (family life, depression and anxiety) and how walking/hiking with the dogs marked a turning point in my life plays a large part in the makeup of this blog.
We’ve recently added a Wellness page to the blog. On it you will find links to posts about being well both physically and mentally and finding balance in your life. Since I am actively on a journey to being better acquainted with wellness, I thought it would be a good idea to create a page on the blog where folks could go to find posts of this nature, as well as follow along with my journey.
So many of us are overwhelmed with our daily lives and don’t know how to make it all better. My life on any given day revolves around wrangling kids and dogs, picking up poo, racing all over creation to drop off/pick someone up, writing, editing, picking up yet more poo, trying desperately to maintain a home and just generally feeling hopelessly behind at everything. I barely start one thing before someone calls me for something else. It’s pretty much like I’m constantly distracted, like the dog from the movie Up. “Squirrel!” moments all day long, folks. That’s me. On a continuous loop. Cue second movie reference–Groundhog Day.
Being outdoors facilitates healing. Being outdoors with your dog will get you there twice as fast.
Studies have proven that fresh air and sunshine are needed by the human body to thrive. Even more studies have shown the positive health effects of dogs on people. It is my aim and the aim of this blog to promote that the two together are limitless in their healing potential by chronicling my own journey toward wellness.
If you wait for time to improve your life to fall into your lap, you’ll be waiting forever. You have to make the time. “But I have so many things to do!” you say. We all do. This is an area where a lot of people think they are doing the best they can for themselves and their loved ones by ignoring their own needs. Being selfish and working on yourself benefits not only yourself, but others around you. If you are a parent or caregiver, like myself, you will eventually hit a wall if you don’t recharge your batteries. What you feel is what you will project to those around you. If you feel bad you will project that. I want my kids to remember me as a patient and loving mother. If I don’t take a break from the madness in my house they’re only going to see the crazy. For some time, that is all they saw. And it was sad. I was drowning, and it was obvious.
Make time. You will feel better, and eventually people will begin to notice.
While you do need to have some time to yourself, it does make sense to include your family in your process. By teaching them that you need time for yourself to better care for them, you are also communicating to them that taking care of one’s own needs is ok and is a priority in life. You are leading by example.
My husband is a self-proclaimed workaholic. I have a son who would rather play video games all day than be outside. When I informed them last year that we were going to tackle one of the most challenging trails in the country as a family, it got their attention. At first it wasn’t quite the excited reaction I was looking for, but when we got out there, the tide changed quickly. We learned a lot about each other and my husband said to me afterward, “You know, there really is something to this hiking thing.” You can read about that trip here.
The world is much different than when I grew up. With each generation it gets harder, I think. Kids today have a whole new set of worries, and if I can impart upon mine the importance of learning to cope with stress, I’ve accomplished something.
Do One Small Thing
All it takes is one small step to put you on the path to wellness. Learn to meditate. Take a yoga class. Take a yoga class with your dog! Yes, it is a thing. Take a walk around the block. Hike a local trail (with your dog!). Try to get at least 20-30 minutes of sunlight and fresh air a day. Check with your local fitness center for classes. There are many from which to choose (for all ages) and you’d be surprised at how much fun they can be.
Consult With Your Doctor & Veterinarian
It’s a good idea to have an idea of your overall health before embarking on any fitness plan. Make an appointment with your physician for a checkup, and discuss your desire to be more active. Make notes of all your current physical areas of concern so that you and your doctor can work together to get you where you want to be in the safest way possible.
The same goes for your dog.
Keep a wellness journal. Track how you feel at the beginning of your journey and write about how you feel as you progress. I was surprised at how much better I felt so soon into the process. It’s a good idea to remind yourself where you came from if you are ever feeling stuck. Take photos throughout the process. Record yourself. You will begin to notice subtle differences.
Invest In Yourself
You get out what you put in. Remind yourself–often–that you are worth it. You are investing in the most important thing of all: you.