Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Is Good for the Soul

It's been very cool here in my area of northern Illinois. I love this time of year and become motivated to exercise more when it's cool outside. This morning I put on a warm fleece jacket instead of a sweatshirt to walk the dog. As the cold wind whipped against my face, it felt good to be alive. As soon as I started, I couldn't wait to finish and get home to my hot cup of coffee. But I pushed on.
 
 
I'm struggling with time management issues right now and have a long, long list of things I need to do this week. I immediately felt stressed thinking about them. Some of them, like cleaning the house, paying the bills, doctor appointments and a mammogram, are necessary and will not be fun. It seems like there will hardly be enough time for myself, or for quilting.
 
Last week while I was at the car dealer getting my oil changed I read something motivating in a magazine about changing your focus from negative to positive. As I walked, I forced myself to change my focus and started to count my blessings and think instead about things that really matter. Grateful that I could walk at all since I still have a painful foot thing going on if I walk too much or too fast, feeling sorry for myself, but remembering instead that old line about the man who had no feet . . . . finally reminding myself that it's feeling much better than it was earlier this year. Last week I told my athletic son I felt discouraged, it hurt to walk more than a mile or so, said maybe I should just give up, stop walking at all. His response? Maybe I should  try walking more, not less, LOL . . .
 
 
"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."  - Emily Bronte
 
 
I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
My mood seemed to lift and perhaps it was due to the fact that I was walking briskly and the blood flow to my brain improved. Or maybe something else. I'll have to remember to get out walking early in the days to come, before the weather gets too cold and I have to exercise indoors.
 
"Exercise, such as walking, increases the blood flow to the brain. A study of people over age 50 found that walking 45 minutes a day at a 16-minute mile pace improved thinking skills. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program."  I could use some mental sharpness some days.
 
Walking and other exercise releases endorphins, the body's happy drugs. Walking at a rate to get your heart pumping will give you more of this benefit more than walking at a slower heart rate pace. But even at a slower pace you will notice an improvement in mood.
 
Walking outdoors gives me time to think and if I create a distance between me and my stress I feel better.  Breathing fresh air, trying not to tense your muscles and feeling the body move as you walk are natural stress-relievers. Of course, walking past this house a few blocks away always gets my blood boiling . . . . I am not fond of this part of Halloween . . .
 

I kept walking and tried to pay attention to other things - watched the dog romp around excitedly, enjoyed the leaves and trees, birds and sky. Push on, hot coffee waiting at home! Thanksgiving isn't the only time to feel grateful.

 

14 comments:

Ann in PA said...

How great to get out with a sweet furry companion to take in the cooler air and the beautiful fall colors. Love your star quilt!

Carole in Nebraska said...

While listening to the radio the other day, one of my favorite talk show hosts remarked that in his prayer time, he began to stop asking and start thanking instead and what a difference it had made. What he said really ccaught my attention and I decided to do the same. He was right! Just turning one's attention to the blessings, even the tiny ones, and turning the things that had been 'asks' into thanks for the any good that had come from a bad situation was such a source of comfort. I've been in lots of pain and am hardly able to walk anymore, so it's not like my lot is a bowl of cherries these days but outlook sure does make a big difference. I envy you on your walks with your dog; I have always loved Fall ... the crisp air, the beautiful leaves and just that smell that is unmistakably Fall.

Susan said...

I absolutely agree about walking. I try to walk every morning, it's sets my day on the right course. Even when I don't want to do it, I just know how I'll feel afterwards, so out of bed I get. Thank you for reminding me of everyday blessings. Hope your week goes smoothly.

Maree Mercer said...

I so envy you for those crisp autumn days and the lovely autumn colours. Here in tropical North Queensland we have two seasons - very hot and not- quite-so-hot, except for perhaps two brief weeks when we can say "winter is here". I'm from Christchurch NZ and even after 36 years in NQ still miss real seasons. Of course, there are lots of lovely things too about living in the tropics. :) Take care.

GabiP said...

Walking is wonderful, especially with our sweet four-legged babies. I love this time of year and am always amazed at folks who aren't...different strokes for different folks! Stay positive - good advise. I love your books and am trying to decide my next project with inspiration from your wonderful books.

pens and needles said...

Since we live on a farm in the country, I am blessed with the opportunity to walk in a completely natural setting. I've certainly found that the things you describe are so true -- the increased mental acuity alone makes exercise worth the effort. What I love most, though, is that it seems to make me much more creative. When I'm not exercising, it's like my creative juices are bound up inside me and I can't even feel them or find them. Walking releases them, and suddenly I have new ideas that make me happy! Keep walking ... I think your son is correct! :)

Pam in IL said...

I've noticed the strong wind out of the northwest is back here in north central IL -- a sure sign that the cold weather is here to stay! I enjoy hiking with my dog through the colorful, falling leaves. You're right, it does give me the time I need to reflect and be thankful.

Nita said...

You go girl...we are what we think. It's true :)

sandi s said...

Hhi Kathy, when you walk past THAT house just laugh and be glad it's not yours. LOL have a great day. Hugs,

daisywaite said...

I think I really like your sons' idea of more :) I automatically choose to quit something , sometimes, when I feel defeated, but to push on and try a little harder is really the right response ! I wonder what makes my brain do that ?

Ingrid Kalessa said...

I really like your son's advice about walking more, and will try it myself! Can I borrow your dog?

pandchintz said...

I solve lots of problems, mostly quilting ones, and design lots of quilts in my head on my walks! Very therapeutic and industrious! Love an Autumn walk!!

KI quilter said...

I was sitting here trying to justify not going on my walk today since it's chilly and gray here on Kelleys Island. After reading your blog. . . I'm outta here! :) Loved the Hawthorne quote.

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this. Thank you for your comments. I'm going out and start walking more. I think it will help me w/ my quilting snafus too.

.

Related Posts with Thumbnails