In years past, especially the last 25 years or so when I am stressed out or need to think about things and clear my mind I would go for a run. This stress response led me to challenging myself to see how far I could go. I was delighted to find my body capable of long distances. I officially started running marathons at 25 years old when my first marriage was failing; it doesn’t seem such a coincidence now. In retrospect it has led me to be able to figure out what I want in life. It clears my mind during the run and lets me think unobstructed. I still love a nice run to clear my head, a vacation run to explore and always a run as a way to get out in nature.
As I get older I realize I need to tap in to other stress relieving activities. And while I like yoga for that it is still exercise and I need some thing more calm. I like to be moving but I had to reflect on what I might like that isn't necessarily active. I like to garden and bake and I like to go for a walks/hikes. Some thing I never did too much until the pandemic was paint, for fun that is. I’ve re-painted our house interior twice as well as the exterior of our house in the last 10 years but I don’t usually paint for fun. This year I focused on specifically painting for fun and it has become my new stress outlet. Adding color to otherwise drab spaces opens my mind.
Another pandemic mind clearing and easy activity I started was doing puzzles. I used to do them with my grandmother many years ago and I forgot how fun they can be. I start them when I am most busy and they help to keep me calm. It is one of the other few things that totally clears my mind.
As much as I promote healthy eating and joyful movement in exercise I truly believe freeing your mind is equally important. Right up there with good sleep which I totally find to corollate with mind clearing activities. I encourage you to find some thing that maybe isn’t exercise but does promote some stress relief in your life, it’s totally worth it.