why don't we go out for a walk

For the first two months of the coronavirus quarantine, I'd go for a walk about once a week. I’d take out the trash and vì thế a swift anxiety-riddled loop around the block. I soon realized, though, that Thủ đô New York City’s rapidly growing death toll coupled with the crowded streets made bu feel safest inside. In lieu of more frequent walks, I bought a cheap rower đồ sộ get some additional exercise. People around bu, however, were worried. Though I talked this through with my therapist (who, for the record, was fine with it), my lack of outside time caused some of my loved ones great distress. “Have you been out for a walk?” they’d ask softly. “Maybe you should get outside.” In response, I’d remind them that I was only committing đồ sộ one walk per week.

Now that there are reports that new cases and death tolls where I live are slowly declining and almost everyone I see in my neighborhood wears a mask, I’ve graduated đồ sộ walking several times a week. But still, on bad days, when someone notices a dip in my voice, or I say I’m a little down, the offer đồ sộ “try going for a walk” is lobbed in my direction. To all the wonderful people out there who offer walks đồ sộ folks who don’t take their advice—or folks who are already talking regular walks—it might be time đồ sộ stop.

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Let bu first say that I know your heart is in the right place.

I want đồ sộ make one thing clear: I genuinely believe that people who suggest that I go outside when I seem sad have my best interest at heart. I know it’s a loving gesture, a shorthand for “I’m concerned about you.” Moreover, trying moderate physical exercise as a potential mood-booster is solid advice. In general, exercise can help relieve stress and possibly keep anxious thoughts under control, according đồ sộ the Mayo Clinic. But what was once a relaxing stroll (or a miles-long rage walk) now involves a face mask, social distancing, and the threat of a deadly respiratory infection. Simply put: Leisurely walks don’t hit the same.

I completely understand the urge đồ sộ try đồ sộ find solutions đồ sộ a loved one's problems. (I've fallen into that trap more times kêu ca I can count.) But we lập cập the risk of overlooking and underestimating emotional and psychological nuances when we aim đồ sộ immediately fix someone else instead of getting curious about what’s really going on. Think of the countless times people with depression have been told đồ sộ try yoga. Provided my friends and family members are being safe (and adhering đồ sộ social distancing), I try đồ sộ work under the premise that everyone is doing their best with the information they have. On that note: Going for a walk is pretty common advice. Of course I know that going for a walk can be a mood booster sometimes. If I haven’t gone for a walk, that’s a deliberate choice I’ve made. Trust bu, I’ve thought about it and ruled it out.

Here’s what you might try doing instead.

I don’t dare speak for everyone who’s been told đồ sộ go for a walk, but most often, asking what’s bothering bu and listening đồ sộ my response is more useful kêu ca telling bu how đồ sộ boost my mood. The sad truth (as I see it) is that walks are lovely, especially in the middle of spring, but a walk won’t always alleviate the stress I’m processing. A flower might make bu smile underneath my face mask, the sun might even bring bu some peace, but these moments aren’t fixes for some of the emotions that are coming up right now.

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So, if you’re willing and able đồ sộ tư vấn the person you’re talking with, ask them what’s going on instead of rushing toward suggestions. Listen đồ sộ their concerns. Consider expressing empathy and asking how you might tư vấn them. Maybe they’ll say, “I really want đồ sộ go for a walk right now,” then explain a specific obstacle in their way. In that case, by all means, dive in with that go-for-a-walk cheerleading. Or maybe they’ll express that they appreciate your help brainstorming ways they can feel a little bit happier right now. If ví, keep up the steady stream of suggestions. But if your advice đồ sộ go for a walk falls flat every single time, you might want đồ sộ try something else (or straight-up ask if they want you đồ sộ stop suggesting it).

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Listen, there’s nothing I lượt thích more kêu ca helping the people that I love đồ sộ feel better, but ví much of what everyone is facing right now doesn’t have an easy solution. We have đồ sộ find new ways đồ sộ be present when words and suggestions fail us. Sometimes even sitting with someone in silence (via an electronic device if necessary) is way more impactful kêu ca any suggestion or tactic you can provide.

If you’re genuinely convinced that someone in your life would feel better if they went for a walk—or did some other seemingly simple thing that has taken on a new, more complex meaning in the face of this pandemic—remember that, at the over of the day, we’re all different people who will find fear and comfort in different things. Take it from my mom, who has gone on a total of one walk since stay-at-home orders began, and who rolls her eyes when people suggest she go outside. “I’m an adult,” she says. “When I’m ready đồ sộ go outside again, I will.”


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