I don’t know about you all, but with school being online, I am sitting almost all day, with the few exceptions being when I walk downstairs for lunch, and walk back up to my room. Zoom has me glued to my chair for hours on end, and when I check my phone’s “health” app, I only have 200 steps clocked in (granted, I’m not constantly carrying my phone, so I always walk more than what it says, but you get the point).
In honor of Biola’s Sleep Week this year, celebrating and practicing rest for me has taken form in getting outside and walking! It is such a simple and accessible activity, and is relatively low-stakes and low-commitment. The other day, I decided to spontaneously (and safely) grab coffee with a friend and sit at a park that had a small pond. Not only was it lovely to sit in the sun on a green, grassy hill and catch up with a friend I had not seen in a while, but we also walked around the pond and it felt so refreshing to move my body after a hard week (it actually was a really hard and stressful week for me, I had multiple art projects due, as well as my culminating art portfolio).
Oftentimes we equate rest with sleep, which can be true—through sleep we refuel ourselves in preparation for another day. Sleep, however, is not the only way we rest. Surely, sleep provides physical reprieve, but by participating in activities like short walks, that provides us a mental rest. When I walked and visited with my friend the other day, it served as an opportunity to be present and engage with something other than my screen and school (obviously I’m not only going out with friends purely to distract me).
Resting and decompressing through walks does not require the company of other people, though. I love to go on brief walks around my neighborhood while listening to music. I focus on taking deep breaths, standing up straight (I have horrible posture, and sitting in a dinner table chair all day does not help), and observing all the little things I see or come across on my walk. I love to touch plants I pass by, and activate the different senses, especially because sometimes I feel like my body becomes numb when sitting in the same room and the same corner for weeks.
Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m a physician or scientist, but from my very limited knowledge and pure logical reasoning, taking walks (I think) helps the body to physically rest by loosening up the joints (?) and relax the muscles (?), so when you do go to sleep, your body is not as tense (????). Someone fact check me, that could be completely wrong, and if so, that is why I am not a nursing major… And, if you really don’t trust my reasoning on why you should go on a walk, there are so many articles published about the benefits of walking, so either way, it’s a trustworthy practice.
If you find that you have a spare hour or chunk of time in between classes, I highly recommend a calming walk outside, especially with spring being right around the corner for California! It is such a healing and rejuvenating activity that feels undervalued. Your body and mind will thank you!
As always, thank you so much faithful readers for reading my little blog. Whether you go on a walk or not, I hope it was at least restful to read something that is not required for school. :+)