Country walk, Tara Holley

I love to take walks alone. Whether it's in a city, the suburbs, or in a state park, it's one of my favorite ways to get exercise. However, there's something particularly nurturing and meditative to me about walking in the countryside. Interestingly though, I find it initially harder to do. That may sound crazy, but as social creatures, we get energy from other humans being nearby--this is true even for introverts. When you're trying to stay motivated to move your body, that human energy can be very helpful. Often, that's why people pick up workout buddies.

Whenever I'm in the countryside, it quieter. It's just me and nature. It takes a bit to allow myself to slow down to the pace of the environment. However, this is one of the benefits of doing it.  It's funny how, without the sound assault of human activity, nature itself becomes louder. You find yourself getting more in tune with it. Not only do I find this calming and meditative, but I get some of my best ideas during these walks. Ideas in regard to something I may want to write or insight into a personal issue I'm dealing with, or how to solve a problem in a more creative way.

If you have a chance this weekend, set aside 20 to 30 minutes and find one of our quieter East Texas roads or find a park trail that's not overrun with people and try it. However, I find that when I allow myself a full hour to walk, that's when I notice the biggest benefit--but do what you can. (Always make sure you stay aware of your surroundings and have a safety plan when walking alone, of course.)

When you return home, write some notes in a journal or at least sit quietly for a bit to reflect. It's one of the most calming, creativity-inspiring things I do.

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