By Anna van Zelderen,

Physiotherapist and Rhythmical Massage Therapist

What could we do differently in this time in order to nurture ourselves in this present culture where many of us feel ‘confined by walls and screens’. What about a little ‘time-out’? (45 -60 min)

Why not do a special walk to nurture yourself?
May I make some suggestions?… Put your walking boots/shoes on the doormat. Take with you a pen and paper, perhaps a little notebook. Before you put your socks and shoes on, give your feet a short massage with a little bit of lovely oil. It could be some calendula or arnica massage oil or perhaps simply some olive oil from your kitchen cupboard. Take a moment of preparation to give your feet this care to get them engaged, gently rub the oil on your feet and around your ankles. Actually also your calves might like to have a little rub. (If you tend to have cold feet you could also put some copper ointment on your foot soles.)

Okay.. ready? Then put your socks and shoes on and go… Where to, you might ask. Well, go to a place in nature, where you could be with the trees. It could be your local park (or elsewhere). Once arrived, slow down, feel your feet inside your shoes, feel the air on your skin, and listen to the sounds.. the birds. Can you also feel the Earth underneath your feet? Try to tune in and be ‘in touch’.

Give yourself approx. 15-20 minutes to walk, then start looking out for a special tree, a tree that appeals to you. Please go and sit down underneath that tree and take your time to ‘arrive’ sitting comfortably on the earth and feeling supported by the tree. Perhaps you would like to rub your back against the bark of the tree to actively wake up that part of you which was a bit asleep or… you might like to simply listen carefully with your back, sensing the tree trunk behind you. Sit and open yourself to the surrounding atmosphere, and more specifically to the ‘tree-sphere’…. this moment of real attentiveness could be a real ‘breather’. See if/what thoughts are surfacing after a little while. Perhaps you would like to capture them in your note book. Please write them down..they might be important to understand yourself or perhaps to help you to try to make sense of what is going on in the world right now. Perhaps over time (as you do this walk more often) new insights or ideas might arise, please write them down too. (This time is difficult, but it is also unique and can open new windows to the future…).

When it’s time to get on your way again.. take a few deep breaths before you get up to walk/go back home. When you arrive home and stand in front of your door, create a conscious moment to connect to your feet before you enter to bring with you ‘the little treasures’ from outdoors to the ‘indoors’.

If this has been a worthwhile experience for you, I would suggest -like in a course of therapeutic treatments- to apply a rhythm. Try for example to do this twice a week for a few weeks. You might like to keep doing this by yourself and let it grow in you . Perhaps you would even like to return to the same tree or you might like to sense the sphere of the different trees. Alternatively you could do this with a friend. You could both start your walk together, keeping 2 m distance between you, either speaking with each other or walking without words whatever you prefer, and after approx. 20 minutes walking each of you could choose your own tree in order to have this quiet reflective space by yourself. After approx. 15-20 minutes you could meet up again at a certain spot and walk back home, either sharing some of your experiences or being together ‘in silence’.

Let this process develop and expand in yourself and adapt it where needed to the weather’s circumstances. As it is Spring and we are approaching Summer there might be a lovely warm day that you might like to walk part of the way bare footed or lie in the grass putting your bare feet on the tree trunk and ‘dream’… and see what inspiring thoughts that might bring you. Just try out different ways to nurture yourself by creating an inner space and time in order to be ‘in touch with yourself and your surroundings’ and therefore feeling connected and part of ‘the whole’.

Walk to be ‘in touch’