Living in Spain taught me one thing that I did not even realise till I returned to the UK.
OK living in Spain taught me many things and so many things that I could appreciate at the moment, yet this one was hidden from me and it’s so simple it’s how you walk!
Living in the UK, working all the hours needed, rushing for a train. running for a bus. Short times, long distances to go between meetings. Yes it is all about rush and no wonder we live our lives in a blur as we push from one place to the next, stay on time, don’t be late – it reflects badly on you professionally. Time is of the essence, over-time, month, hours, minutes. Time is measured and how you use it is judged.
To walk quickly is seen as a positive attribute.
Does it mean you will work quicker, will your thought patterns be speedier than your slow walking colleagues?
Will you walk faster when you get promotion, look around your workplace and check that one out as it may mean the Boss should be running!
What would your boss say about the speed you walk into work compared to the speed of your walk when you leave?
Does it really mean anything when you walk quicker other than health benefits, losing weight, a longer life, better blood health, helps against diabetes.
I always walked fast and my 6 ft tall boyfriend, whose legs stretch for miles compared to my 5 ft 5 inch legs, was always asking me to slow down as he could not keep up. My mind set was to always be moving on, not necessarily forward, just doing something.
Then I went to Spain and the heat slowed me down. The expectations to always be on the move changed, there were siestas to take mid afternoon. It was busier in the big towns or where the British congregated. The Spanish towns had covered walkways to keep you safe from the burning sun, an expectation to be out of the sun at its heat and that life would still happen and all would be accomplished.
Working in Menorca for a summer should have forewarned me of the change that was happening in me! After 5 months on this peaceful island I went over to Palma Majorca. I was shocked, there were men and women in business suits, rather than Menorca business attire of loose shirt and shorts. It was crowded and people seemed to have more energy to get things done. That was what I thought I had noticed but it was actually more than that.
Spain taught me to slow walk, Menorca showed me that business can be done without the formality of constraining rules. A slow walk between meetings is a great chance to clear your head ready for the next meeting.
Businesses are even moving towards walking meetings as they feel that they break down barriers that walls give and the exercise is good for you too.
I’m no longer doing the ‘fast walk’. Spain changed that and my boyfriend is grateful for that.
Returning to the UK I now walk to work. At one time it would have been a sense of achievement to knock seconds or minutes off my time for the walk. Now I relish the time for myself. I meditate as I walk and listen to uplifting music and pod casts to set me up for the day. My job expects me to give them my free time and to be measured in hours and outcomes, it’s stressful and challenging yet my walk to work sets me up for the day and expectations ahead.
People think that fast walking is what gives you benefits. I can vouch that slower walking helps too. My belt notch has gone from the largest size to the 4th into the belt. My attitude to life and my job has changed and I can see the benefits in both and can cope with the challenges.
From a holistic point, in coaching the conversations and open thinking that happens from a walking coaching session is amazing to me and to my clients as they become more aware of themselves their bodies and their lives.
Take a tip from me today. Take a slow walk be it in the city or in the country, take the time to become aware of yourself and your thoughts and feelings. It is time well spent for your health and your mind. Build a walk into your daily routine, a bus stop or train stop earlier is all it can take or a walk at lunchtime instead of the office canteen.
Allow the toxic thoughts to be released and allow better health into your life.
Thank you Ian for your insights