Mind Powered Walking: The New Weekly Self-Care Routine
by Kim Palmer, 21st April 2022
Firstly tell us a bit about yourself and how you found your passion for walking and coaching?
Walking and coaching really came together for me around 10 years ago. I had 3 small children and was going through a horrible time at work. Work made me so unhappy and stressed that I started feeling sick on Sunday nights, just at the thought of the start of the work week. I found myself getting off the tube a stop or two early each day so that I could walk for a while before work. It helped me feel sane and calm and able to cope. At the same time, I started noticing how much of a difference it made to have a conversation with my colleagues while walking. They were also stressed and tense, but walking and talking made them feel more relaxed and open. We walked side by side, facing the problems together, rather than facing each other confrontationally.
Something really moving happened when I started coaching while walking. My clients felt recharged and that helped them to think differently. I was so happy to discover that this work genuinely helped people feel better, clear the fog and find a way forward. In 2016, I left my job and started working as a walking coach full time.
During the pandemic I couldn’t walk in person, so I started to explore coaching and walking online. It opened up this whole new world and connected people across the globe. It’s so great to combine this with Clementine words and offer walks to people wherever they are.
We all know that walking is good for you physically, but could you explain the benefits to your mind that happen when you take a walk?
Study after study shows the huge positive difference that walking makes to our minds, bodies and wellbeing.
After around 20 minutes, walking gives us a natural high. It also reduces our stress levels and improves our mood. When we’re moving, we feel more open, free and optimistic. We think with our whole bodies and walking has been proven to help us think more creatively. It has a lasting effect and works not only while we walk but for some time after.
Plus, walking outside gives us exposure to sunlight (even when it’s very cloudy!) which helps us feel alert and sleep better. Wandering in nature enhances all these benefits to our mood, immune system and wellbeing.
All this means that walking is ideal for shifting how we feel, clearing our minds and having great conversations.
Can you tell us a bit about the Mind Powered Walking Club sessions….what happens in 30 minutes?
Yes, it's only 30 minutes and yet it can make all the difference to your day.
First, you put in your earphones and log into zoom from wherever you are. Your camera is off so you can even join us in your pyjamas from home or whatever works for you.
I welcome everyone and invite the walkers to tell us where they are walking from and what the weather is like. So then you have this exciting sense of going for a walk on your own while connecting to all these different places. You might hear a few moments of bird song in someone’s local park or kids playing in the background. Talking is totally optional though and it’s fine to just listen.
Next, I guide you to engage with the world around you. I encourage you to take some time to be really present and breathe. Let go of thinking about all the things you have to do and just be here with us, check in with how you’re doing and wander.
Each week I invite you to ponder a different theme focused on your wellbeing. I also share some words from Clementine. These are really accessible yet powerful mantras that help you shift your mindset and feel ready for the day ahead.
You will have the chance to share what is coming up for you as you wander, listen to your fellow walkers and feel really supported and connected as you go. You don’t have to go somewhere special. You can walk at your own pace, indoors or outdoors, on a route that suits you. You can even sit if you prefer.
It’s a relaxed half an hour that gives you a chance to gain some space to breathe, some perspective on whatever is going on for you right now and sends you off into your day feeling good.
Sometimes I really struggle to get out of the house for a walk….could I still benefit from joining from home?
Yes, definitely! For many of our walkers, there are times that they can’t get outside – for example, they might be quarantining, low in energy or calling from another timezone.
To make the most of the walk indoors, use your phone (rather than your computer) so that you can still move around the space you’re in. Look out your window to gain a different perspective. Try different movements like side steps, dancing, walking on tip toes or even lying on your back and wiggling your feet. Or just sit quietly with us if that’s what you need. Find what feels right for you.
This way you can still get the benefits of moving, being really present, shifting your mindset and the boost of social energy that comes from connecting with people.
Lastly, do you have any wise words you’d love to share with our community about the amazing powers of ‘mind powered walking’
Walking is easy to do and so good for our wellbeing.
However, if you’re finding it hard to get out for a walk right now, give yourself some space to breathe. When we’re stressed, we can feel overwhelmed and forget to give ourselves a break. We always have time to gently move and take three deep breaths. Take a moment to just look up and down and engage with the world around you. This will have a positive effect on your nervous system and help you feel calmer.
The Clementine app also has some great, really short sessions that can help you when you’re feeling a bit low or under pressure.
Even better, come and try our wander! You don’t need to do anything other than come as you are.
Why not come join one of our weekly walks? They take place virtually ever Friday from 10am. All you need is your phone and a pair of headphones. Sign up for free here to receive the link to join.