Walking to sobriety

Good morning. Did you have a nice day yesterday?

Have you woken up with a hangover, after one too many sherries in front of the telly? Or did you spend a sober day cooped up with the family? Or are you just so stuffed with turkey you think you might never want to eat again? Oh, except for that mince pie… for breakfast… oh, go on then...

However you’re spending the festive period, there’ll come a point when you need to step outside for a breath of fresh air. Going for a Boxing Day walk is a peculiarly British tradition, and it’s one that I’m very happy to embrace. It’s actually my favourite bit of the festive period. Whether I’m with friends, or by myself, getting my wellies on and heading out into the countryside is an essential part of my midwinter celebrations.

It’s not just the change of scenery that’s good for us. Since the winter solstice on Sunday, the days have been getting longer, and exposing ourselves to some midwinter daylight is good for our mood. Getting a lung full of winter air can help blow away the cobwebs. The gentle exercise of walking can go some way (albeit a tiny way) to helping us work off the excesses of the day before.

Remember that a midwinter walk doesn’t have to be a forced march across the fields, and to be honest, it’s probably better if it’s not. Wherever you’re walking - in the countryside, around your town or in a city park - it’s good to take time to walk slowly, to feel the earth beneath your feet, and notice what’s going on around you.

One of my favourite writers, the philosopher Henry David Thoreau, wrote that “winter is a cabinet of curiosities”. So take the time to stop often. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you feel? Winter’s cabinet of curiosities is also a feast for the senses, if you’ll take the time to notice.

Walking can be a journey of discovery, of yourself and of the world around you.

If you want to discover more, why not join me for a Sunday morning meditation and walk on Hampstead Heath in January (4th and 25th). You’ll find details here and there’s a discount for Club Soda members use the code sundaytonic when booking). I’ll look forward to seeing you.

In the meantime, don’t just sit there - get those wellies on, wrap up warm and step outside.

Enjoy your walk, wherever it takes you!

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