Take A Wellness Walk In Your Neighborhood
One day a few months ago, I woke up feeling super crappy. Not your average, run-of-the-mill crappy. SUPER crappy. I hadn't slept well, allergies were in full force, and everything in me screamed, "Don't get out of bed!" But luckily for me, the healthier part of my brain kicked in, and I went for a walk in my hood. Actually I went for a Wellness Walk, and I highly recommend it.
What's a Wellness Walk? To be clear, I didn't start out with the intention of it being anything unusually healthy. I just knew I had to get outside and clear my head and move. I wasn't breaking any speed records — this walk wasn't for fitness, it was for mental health — and I had my iPhone with me. Walking at a slower pace, I began to notice things in my neighborhood that I'd never really noticed before, and I started taking pictures.
And then, magically, I started feeling better. Not on top of the world better, but better.
And I thought, "This is a Wellness Walk, and I need to write about it." So here we are! And here's what I saw:
Just two houses down from me, my neighbors Jennifer and Darrell, have a fairly utilitarian chain link fence around the front of their yard. But it has this spectacular passion vine growing on it, and I covertly took one of the flowers and put it in my hair. Thanks, neighbors!
Just around the corner, a young couple has a Little Free Library in their front yard — and for that matter, the Montessori school on the other end of the neighborhood has one, too. I love these because they not only encourage reading, but a sense of hospitality, sharing, and community. Note to self: Get a Little Free Library.
I see this agave every time I'm out for a walk, and it's a head-scratcher. Do they not like their mail carrier? I love agaves, but....maybe where they won't poke someone's eyes out or impale their forearm? Just a thought.
As I made my way around the corner, I decided to go through my neighborhood park — after all, what's a Wellness Walk without a park thrown in? I love this park. It's not fancy, but it's well-kept and well-used. It was Labor Day, and I spotted this dad out for a little Wellness Walk of his own with his daughters. Love.
I've never been to this pool, but I really should. I'm a terrible swimmer and don't actually enjoy the water, but swimming is good for the lymphedema in my left arm (thanks, breast cancer!), and I love the sound of children playing. Note to self: Go to the dang pool next year.
I always loved the playground as a kid — I'd pretend I was a super hero that saved the day, and was always grateful my mom made me wear shorts under my dress because I loved hanging upside down from the monkey bars.
On my way back home, I came across a neighbor's garden with tons of beautyberry — aren't those berries stunning? They look like glass beads to me. If I was on a fitness walk rather than a Wellness Walk, I may have missed this altogether.
Ah, community pride at its finest! Austinites are fanatic about our Longhorns — who cares if we haven't had a winning season in forever? Hometown pride like this makes my heart swell.
This mailbox cracked me up — I live in South Austin, long known for its hippy-dippy-trippy individualism. As you can clearly see, our neighborhood is not controlled by an HOA. Thank God.
Coming around the corner to home, I saw this on another fence — it's a vine of some sort with these wispy balls of something or other on it. What is it? Tell me if you know! Then you'll get a prize for embarrassing the garden designer who should probably know.
When I got home, I still had allergies and I was still tired, but I felt markedly better. I checked the stats on my phone — I'd walked 2 miles at a leisurely pace, saw the sights in my neighborhood, and felt engaged with my community. I appreciated small details I'd not quite noticed before, and my head was clearer and more focused. Plus, I was outside in the sunshine with a slight breeze on my cheek and the sound of the world all around me. I felt cozy and connected — the very essence of wellness.
I'm telling you — Neighborhood Wellness Walks are the next big thing. Now, if one of my neighbors had a cocktail to hand out along the way, that would be a major score.
Want more ideas on feeling cozy? Check out my post on hygge. Never heard of hygge? You're in for a treat!
Want your own FREE neighborhood walk wellness guide? Grab it here or click on the thumbnail below! Just put your email in the box and hit "SEND IT!" I'll send you a link to download it. If you don't see the email, check your spam folder. Happy exploring!