Saturday, May 9, 2015

30 Minutes A Day

I've been feeling stressed. Quite a bit more than usual. Then things took on a slightly grayish cast. I took that seriously.

I upped my consumption of powerhouse foods, I continued to exercise. I prioritized sleep. These lifestyle changes have helped.

I visited my doctor for a physical. I am in superior health, but we are keeping an eye on the stuff I mentioned earlier. He is monitoring me. I am monitoring myself.

When I am working hard on various things, I work breaks into my schedule. I drink iced coffee, have a snack, and check out my newsfeed. Then I get back to work.

On a whim one day, I took a half hour walk outside. That was my break. This turned out to be an excellent idea. I decided to implement these walks on a regular basis to see what happens.

These are walks that are not primarily for exercise. That is a separate activity. These walks are completely different in tenor from walking to the subway, or running errands. I make sure to take the walks alone.  There is no purpose to the walks other than taking a walk.

I keep track of my time and keep it to the 30 minutes. I was worried that this would be too big a break if I have so much work to do. This did not turn out to be the case.

Once I return from my walks I feel refreshed. The fresh air, the light and change of scenery are a re-boot. I'm then smarter and better at whatever I'm working on. There’s a big influx of focus.

Another benefit is that I look forward to the walks and use them as a reward for good, sustained and effective work habits.

One of the things I noticed about this particular spring here in NYC is that it seems more explosive, riotously colorful and glorious than ever before. I wondered if the long winter made me just notice or appreciate the trees and flowers more. I don't think it's that. Jeremy and I think that the delay in warm temperatures made everything more intense when things finally bloomed. It isn't just me. He noticed it too.

Here's what it's like for me.

I go outside and the thirty minutes stretches out expansively. It makes me feel rich with time.

I walk slowly and meander. This is not the usual way I am. There's a certain liberation to doing that. It seems to slow time down. It feels like I am out for longer than a half hour.

Since I'm not going anywhere in particular, I stop whenever I want.  I have my iPhone camera with me and often something will strike my fancy. I've taken a lot of photographs during these walks.

I am very literal about the time and manage it well. I stay out for 30 minutes, no more, no less. Once the 30 minutes are up, I feel ready to go inside again.

Here's what I'm doing. I'm going to keep this up. I'll to post about my experience once a season. I consider this my spring post.

Since this spring is audaciously, in your face beautiful, I'm sharing some photographs to accompany this post. I took all of these pictures during my 30-minute walk today.

Taking a walk is not a miracle mental health intervention. Optimizing my outlook and resilience is a multi-tiered process. But these 30-minute walks are a part of my toolbox. A bit of fresh air without an agenda never hurt anyone.

I was attracted to the filmy delicacy of these two plants. The cloudy day cast a lovely, even light that brought out their saturated pastel coloration.

These two photographs make nice new additions to some series I am working on.

I am exploring the beauty intrinsic in old, dying and decomposing plants and blooms.

I first photographed these flowers at the beginning of my walk but was unable to capture anything I liked due to a large bee buzzing uncomfortably  close. At the end of my walk I was able to spend more uninterrupted time and realized my artistic vision.

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