On days when life feels like it’s handed you all it’s got, the drive to create can get lost. And then on even harder days, inspiration can become completely stalled.
For me, my muse seemed to have grown silenced – shut down. Mute. Simply gone. I was feeling overwhelmed with life and all the responsibilities that seem to come with adulthood.
Work, home, tending to the family, and don’t forget the groceries. And wait – who does the laundry again?
For those who thrive using creative gifts, losing this inspiration is like losing a friend. You feel wayward, confused – wandering through life without rhythm.
But in an instant we can get that spark back. After months of not hearing from my long-lost friend, she finally came back home.
How did it happen you ask? By taking a walk.
I took to the woods not far from my house with my Labrador Retriever. She loves walks. To her, this was a treat. For me, it was simply a way to get out of the house and avoid the real-life adult chores chasing me down. But then, walking along the grassy path with my dog, allowing the sun to wash over me in a blanket of warm spring air, something began to change. Suddenly, the trees began to come to life, the colors of April bursting forth in brilliant light. What began as a stroll to escape the demands of life morphed into a daily routine that began to wake up something inside of me.
Why is this? What is it about a walk that could bring back the ability to create again? But, more importantly, if you’ve lost your spark, how can this help you?
The Benefits of Exercise for Your Mental Health
Have you ever had one of those days when you take on a workout that just takes everything out of you, depleting you completely? Even though you’re exhausted physically, you actually feel better.
You can thank your body and incredible brain for being wired to work that way together. How so? In layman’s terms, when you exercise, your body sends signals to your brain, telling it to create endorphins. Endorphins are the little guys that give you the feel-good emotions we all crave. Exercise creates endorphins and endorphins make you happy.
Nature Sparks Creativity
I think Emerson said it best when he described in his essay, “Nature”, “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other….” He was a man ahead of his time, knowing at his core what psychologists are now discovering.
There is something about being out in nature that can stir our hearts to life. For those of us who spend our days behind computer screens and staring down at phones, caged to the indoors by technology, the outside world feels like a distant dream. It’s viewed over pictures on social media, or through an uninspiring office window. But what we fail to realize by spending our days locked away in our temperature-controlled towers is that there are psychological benefits for being outdoors. In fact, researchers are beginning to see a correlation between mental health and nature.
Walking Can Be Done Anywhere
Maybe you don’t have a park you can walk, or even a decent neighborhood in which to take a stroll, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this great benefit. You can take a walk around your office complex, or while your kids are playing soccer at the rec field. You can even join a gym and walk on the treadmill or indoor track. There are also online videos available for those who want to walk in their living room.
Don’t let your environment deter you from experiencing the fantastic benefits of this activity. If you want to try your hand at walking on a regular basis, experiment with different ways to get it done. Be creative.
Here are some more examples of ways you can walk everyday:
- Take the stairs at work
- Park farther away from retail stores before heading inside
- Walk the dog, cat, bunny . . . you get the idea
- Try an online video at home
- Walk the mall
If you’ve lost your voice, if you need to find that piece of your soul that has gotten trampled under the demands of life, head outside for that walk. For me, what began as a momentary decision to run away from life became the unexpected blessing of finding my mojo again. One year later and nearly 600 miles under my sneakers, my long-lost muse came sprinting back with open arms.