Do you get a buzz from walking outside in the wind?
Do you love feeling the elements on your skin and the beautiful hum in your body as it begins to move?
Does it make you happy? Does it help your mood and provide you with personal insights?
It wasn’t long ago that the buzz I’ve just described felt completely out of my reach.
Battling with my ‘mean girl’.
I was battling with deep-seeded body image concerns and a very nasty ‘mean girl’ in my head.
Things have certainly changed!
It took me very small steps but I began to change my mind-set from not wanting to exercise, to enjoying moving my strong, curvy body.
I stopped apologising for taking up space in the world, and now believe I am good enough exactly as I am. After all, I am so much more than just my body. In all aspects of my life, I am perfectly imperfect and that’s ok.
So, back to my outside jaunts.
Woo hoo….I’m off outside for a stroll and then a line pops into my head,
There’s wind in my whiskers and bells on my toes!!
Hang on, what?!
Well unfortunately the occasional whisker on my chin is becoming a reality 😉 and I can certainly feel the excitement of moving my glorious feet these days – bells or not!
Beginning to love moving my body.
It’s amazing how the world feels closer to me these days. I now understand that distances are often smaller than I first thought, as my feet connect with the ground.
After years of being afraid of being seen moving my body in public, now I love it, and suddenly it feels that everything in the world is within reach.
I can sings in my mind after years of being afraid to try, just in case I couldn’t.
Epiphanies abound as I notice everything around me and within me. Often on the journey, I receive answers to the many questions I have in my mind, simply by listening to my breath.
Stopping to smell the roses (literally), or the eucalypts, or the briny sea air helps me to be present and to be grateful for all that I am, and all that I have.
Reminiscing on lessons learnt
At the worst times in my life, I have sat on the beach weeping on wet sand, watching the waves nonchalantly roll in, as if everything was NORMAL in life!
Once my tears dried, the consistency of the waves reminded me that my worries were insignificant in the scheme of things, and that the pull of the tides would never stop, regardless of my suffering.
Years later the phrase ‘this too shall pass’ lodged into my mind, and taught me the same lesson as the ocean’s waves.
Life will go on and one day your suffering will shift and ease. In the meantime, just breathe.
Why moving my body is so damn important to me now!
These days I use the most magnificent gift of being able to step outside and walk or run to anywhere I wish to go, to ease my worries and tend to my emotional health.
I no longer take heed to the ‘nasty girl’ inside my head that is concerned with how my bum looks in my leggings, instead I just pop on a smile and move forward.
I honour what comes up along the way. All the fear, grief, anger, hurt, joy, hope, passion, and excitement built up in me. I allow all of those emotions to pass over me like waves and I keep moving my feet.
How walking and talking can make monumental changes to your mental health.
As you learn to accept your own pace in life, you realise just how much positive change is within your grasp if you simply honour who you are; flaws and all.
I have made such monumental changes in the way I feel about myself and I know that with compassion and humility I can also travel with my clients as they navigate important changes in their own lives.
So besides my own personal love of the outdoors, within my private psychotherapy practice I now offer Walk and Talk Therapy sessions. These sessions combine walking and psychotherapy which help my clients to get ‘unstuck’ from difficult issues they are facing. The simple act of walking and talking leads to natural conversation in a relaxed setting.
It is a flexible and compassionate way to boost my clients’ feel-good endorphins and improve their mental health.
I am connected with Walk and Talk Therapists all over the world who love offering this type of therapy to their clients, and The American Psychological Association has recognised the benefits of Walk and Talk Therapy here.
Walking and Talking with a therapist can help break down awkward barriers.
Many of my clients who prefer Walk and Talk Therapy say that it feels like they’re simply taking a walk with a friend, rather than worrying that they have to hold eye contact in a therapy session indoors.
I work from a person-centred perspective, and believe that Walk and Talk Therapy, for the right client, builds therapeutic rapport naturally and quickly.
Many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance between a client and their psychotherapist is the most important indicator for successful outcomes for the client.
So the next time you consider tending to the most precious thing in your life, your mental health, then consider a Walk and Talk Therapy session.
Many people feel supported by talking with family and friends on shared walks. Some topics though simply may feel too intense to discuss with your loved ones, for fear that they will then worry unnecessarily about you. Instead you may wish to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with that makes you feel safe and heard.
Connect with Ailsa on:
Facebook: Ailsa Robson Consulting
Walk & Talk Therapist
Ailsa Robson is a Walk and Talk Therapist based in Adelaide. She has a Masters Degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy, is a Health At Every Size® specialist, and has her own private practice.
She provides confidential counselling and psychotherapy sessions whilst walking outside with her clients, with the back-up of her two beautiful and cosy consulting rooms located in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills, and at Brighton Beach.
Ailsa is also the author of her book Perfectly Imperfect: Raw reflections on body image, mothering, love and loneliness (that you don’t usually share). Feedback from readers is that it is ‘raw, touching and inspiring’.