It may seem simple, or silly. You might even find it stupid, but too many people, myself included, have no idea how to just walk. Without a destination or goal in mind. Without any intention, other than learning how to enjoy your own company.
When was the last time you went out for a walk, just for the sake of walking? Not only to move your body, and get some exercise in, but just to roam and stroll around. I bet it has been a while for most of you. Up until not long ago, it was for me too. Spending so much time at home, due to lockdown, had me desperate to get out for a bit. To get some breath of fresh air. To move my body and get some vitamin D.
So I put my earbuds in, put on my favourites playlist and went out. Then I just allowed myself to get lost, walk around with no real target or goal. And it got me really thinking about it, about how I was so used to always walking with a purpose. Always in a hurry and rush to get to school or work. If Corona was good for something, at least it gave me a chance to slow down. To pause and go at a slower pace and really appreciate it.
It also turned out to be a lovely way to spend some quality time with myself. Somehow, without even planning, it turned into a nice date. So I decided to share with you these simple steps for creating your own “stroll & Ice-cream” date:
1. Put on music or audiobook
If you’re anything like me, you also cringe and feel uncomfortable when it’s too quiet. Music has always been my “go to” ever since I was younger. It was my coping mechanism when things were too loud, or too quiet. I would constantly have headphones on with music blasting in my ears. And over the years, it still stuck. I don’t like to spend the whole walk with music, I also like to spend part of it listening to the orchestra of noises around me. It’s also important to connect with the sounds, your surroundings.
I know how hard it can be to just be in your own mind, and sometimes it can be too much. And music is a great way to cope, because it helps soothe the overthinking without overflowing it completely. Music for me is a white noise of sorts, drowning out bad thoughts and anxiety. It helps me deal with them better, and thus allowing me to learn how to grow more comfortable in my own thoughts. You can also listen to a nice audiobook, just make sure it doesn’t consume all of your thoughts.
2. Choose a nice route
This may seem like a no brainer, but many times there might not be a nice route around where you live, so it will take a little extra effort to find one. It’s important to find a nice route, so you don’t get bored, so you feel good and happy. So this may be the most basic decision, but it’s also super fundamental. If you don’t find an interesting and pretty trail, you probably won’t last long, and likely won’t do it again.
3. Don’t plan it out too much
That being said, make sure not to plan it out too much, and don’t commit to one direction from the start. Allow yourself to just roam, make spur of the moment decisions and be spontaneous. It will make the whole date so much more fun, if you just take random turns and surprise yourself by going different directions. Also, not worrying about the route you’re going, and making sure you’re going the right way – will release some tension from your mind.
4. Walk leisurely and don’t rush
This one is so super hard for me. Before the pandemic, I was traveling to Brighton and London, and I was just walking around at my usual fast pace. I found myself stopping a few times and wondering why I was in such a rush. I had to consciously remind myself, and even force myself, to slow done. It wasn’t easy, because I also like walking fast. But when you do that, even if you like it, it gives the illusion of being in a hurry, and even adds stress. So even if you have to force yourself at first, like me, it’s worth that extra effort to help you completely let go.
5. Let go of all devices
Just like on every other date with anyone else, and like I’ve mentioned before – you need to fully commit. That also means to let go of your phone. And yes, I know that these days it’s like asking someone to give up an organ. It’s hard for me as well. But it’s super important to not distract yourself with your phone, to fully be present in the moment and bond with yourself completely. Not to mention that some detoxing from your phone is always a good idea, and is another reason why I highly recommend dating yourself.
6. Treat yourself to a nice ice-cream or frozen yogurt
I mean, what date goes without a nice treat, right? And let’s face it, ice-cream is always a good idea (unless you’re lactose intolerant, of course). It doesn’t have to be ice-cream, but make sure it’s a fun treat that will make you and the date feel extra special. It can also be a nice iced coffee or milkshake if you would like. As long as you treat yourself to something fun and exciting, that will add some spice to the date.
This date may sound simple and un-special, but really it’s super important. Not only to allow yourself a nice hour or two where you’re just not in a rush. But also a good way to grow more comfortable in your own company and thoughts. As I’ve written before, to grow that comfort, you need to spend more time in your own company. And what better way, than strolling around alone, with your own thoughts?
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
All my best,