First Blog Entry

Bonita Kapitany

3/29/20224 min read



I have a lot of different practices and exercises I do to help myself feel good, and feel better. But none of them work. Unless I do them!

Out of all of them, the best all-around multi-purpose exercise is also the simplest one: going for a walk. Just put on some comfortable shoes, and walk out the door. So easy, right?

Well… not always. For example, if you work from home all day, it can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself you get out there. You’ve already been doing your best to resist all those distractions in the house: the dishes piling up in the sink, the yummy snacks in the snack cupboard, catching up on the phone with a few friends… No, you’ve disciplined yourself and focused on your work and you got a lot done. Time to give yourself a little pat on the back. Well done!

Now it’s time for a reward. So, what do I want? Head out the door for a refreshing walk, get those cobwebs out of my head, feast my eyes on some lovely trees, flowers, the ocean, the forest or the neighbourhood? Or… bypass all of that and instead grab a few snacks and see what’s happening on Facebook? How about both? Okay, just one snack and a few minutes on Facebook, or Twitter, or Tinder, or Snapchat or whatever… Before you know it, one snack has turned into how many? And now it’s starting to get dark out. Oh darn, I missed my walking window. Tomorrow is another day. Sometimes this happens several days in a row. And it doesn’t feel good. The less I get outside, the worse I feel, the worse I sleep, the more tired I am, and on top of it, I’m getting grumpy. And now there’s rain in the forecast for every day in the coming two weeks.

Or conversely, I got up, had breakfast (or not), got myself to work, worked all day, got myself home and now it’s time to be with the kids, make dinner, and finally flop down on the couch. I made it through another day. No time for a walk, and who can blame me?

That’s when I know it’s time to trick myself. It’s time to take out the trash. I get a bag ready, whether it’s compost, actual trash or recycling doesn’t matter. I put my shoes and coat on and head out to where I deposit it in the bin. Now I have a choice: Do I go straight back in? Well… it feels kind of nice to be outside for a minute. But I really don’t feel like going for a walk. I’m too tired, too busy, too grumpy, too not in the mood. But I do live close to the ocean. Maybe I’ll just walk a few blocks and catch a glimpse of the ocean, now that I’m out here anyway. Oh, look at that. After just one block, my body seems to lift itself up. My back straightens, my shoulders move back, my belly pulls itself in. Oh… right, this feels pretty good. After another block or two, the people walking in the opposite direction start smiling at me and wishing me a good morning/afternoon. How come? Oh…I’m smiling! Didn’t even realize it. Come to think of it, it is a pretty good morning/afternoon, isn’t it? And there is the ocean. Okay, I’ve seen it, now I can turn around and go back. But wait, if I go down those stairs all the way down the beach, I can sit and listen to the waves for a few minutes. It always feels so peaceful when I do that. And then, on the way back, I walk up the same stairs and get in a little bit of cardio. Oh yeah baby! I’m breathing hard now. My lungs are liking this. Or, maybe I’ll walk along the water’s edge to the next set of stairs. Walking on the rocky beach takes a little more effort than walking on the sidewalk. And it feels good! My senses are now wide awake. I smell the brine, I hear the seagulls overhead, I see the ducks diving for their snacks, I hear the waves crashing on the beach. By the time I get back to street level, I can’t wipe the silly grin off my face and I want to walk just a little farther. My mind is so much calmer now, my worries have wafted away on the ocean breeze and my head feels clear. I know this is that magic time, when the ideas fairy will sometimes start whispering in my ear. Ideas about how to tackle a problem in a way I haven’t thought of before, ideas for a story I want to write or a picture I want to paint. And all the while, my lungs are expanding, my heart is beating so happily and my mood has improved by at least 500%.

I don’t know why I don’t just do this every day. It doesn’t need to take more than half an hour. And sometimes it spontaneously stretches out into an hour and half. But it’s always good. And I always feel so much better by the time I get home again. But for some reason, I keep forgetting. And so, I keep tricking myself by taking out the trash. And then just convincing myself to walk around the block, or walk to the ocean, or walk to that park, or walk to that house over there to see if the daffodils are up yet, or if the roses are budding yet, or if the tide is up, or if those preschoolers are playing out in the playground… And before I know it, all that trash in my head is gone too: all those worries, all those irritations, all those mental kinks; all that trash.