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How I Am Compassionate To Myself During Lockdown

Going A Mindful Walk With My Dog Helps Me Find Compassion

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I am all for meditation and finding some time in the day to check-in with myself and my thoughts.

I write, a lot! Brain dumping before bed really helps to free some mind-space. But sometimes it isn’t enough and being confined behind the four walls gets a little too much.

Mindful walking happened almost by accident one day, when I realised I had left my phone at home during the routine dog walk (what was I going to do!?). Initially, it was actually devastating – I felt like I was missing a limb!

My mobile had been my only contact to friends and family for weeks, it consumed the majority of lockdown thus far. I wasn’t without my mobile, I even took it in the bathroom with me.

Then it hit me: how can a mobile phone have such a dramatic impact on my entire mental state!?

As I continued to walk, my boredom had me redirect its attention to the environment around me, and my dog’s (who were walking beautifully in their stride), they appeared to be more relaxed this time.

Tibetan Mastiff’s are STRONG dogs, and usually it’s a battle of wits to have them walk 2-minutes without them stopping at every turn to sniff, and patrol. Yet this time it was no effort at all.

When we arrived at the local park, it was as though I was seeing it for the very first time! Everything was beautiful – the sounds of birds in the trees, a squirrel running up a tree branch, the ducklings in the pond, leaves rustling on the ground.

Beauty was everywhere and it took me almost FOUR years to realise it!

When I got home, I felt so refreshed, so energised, and so positive. I was lighter, I was more awake, and I was full of inspiration.

Mindful walking is now our daily routine since that day and the relationship I have with myself, and my dogs have truly flourished as a result – it’s escapism that you won’t find on any of your devices, I guarantee you.

Since lockdown has highlighted the benefits of technology more than anything else ever has, the entire world seems consumed with technological devices – to stay connected, to talk to our friends, to keep updated with what’s going on in the world.

But so much of all that is highlighting what we don’t have, and forcing us to ignore what we do.

How many families have you seen sitting on their phones, and not one word is spoken between them? It’s so sad because I was that family.

We must actively give ourselves a break from our devices, to allow us to open up some headspace to reflect on how we feel, and make sure we are doing all we can to look after ourselves.

Mindful walking gave me clarity to re-focus on the things that truly matter, and with that a whole new optimistic outlook emerged.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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