Getting out into the beautiful countryside around where I am fortunate enough to live, formed the central part of surviving the early stages of lockdown. Our household calendar, hanging on the kitchen wall, has a daily record of where we went on our walk, run or ride. But now, 21 weeks in, I am managing an injury and we don’t get out every single day. I am in the phase of changing patterns so I can make these new habits sustainable for the longer haul; while maintaining daily activity (even if it’s a little walk around the village), stretching and physio prescribed exercises!
I am someone who likes lists and I enjoy our calendar records. I am also proud of being able to cycle up hills I could not have done at the start of March. However it has been how we have done these activities where my biggest learning has come. It is not just about completing the activity, going faster, ticking it off the list (though I also take my endorphin hit as I mark that tick!). Rather it is in the how. And my partner is an expert in the BEing outdoors, not just the DOing outdoors. Go more slowly; look at the scenery; nap on the grass or in the mountains; stop for another picnic and just appreciate the view; play in the stream; notice the rocks, lambs, flowers, the dead branches in the Ash trees, the diggers in the quarry, and the life cycle of a dandelion.
For me this is a lesson worth translating to the rest of life – especially at this time. This simple noticing can happen anywhere and can enrich our lives – the warmth of the water while doing the dishes, the bird outside the window, shapes in the clouds, a flash of colour, the sound of a laugh, the smell of toast. Drawing our attention to these things we notice, especially those that bring us pleasant sensations, can help to bring balance and regulation to our nervous system and enhance our wellbeing.
Using our senses to BE and notice our BEing.