By: Martianne Stanger
There is no doubt about it. Life is busy.
In fact, sometimes it is so busy that we find ourselves running from here to there, sending quick e-communications, but hardly connecting with ourselves, one another, or the glory of the great outdoors.
To some, that may not be an issue. To me, it is.
I am a big believer in the importance of taking time to think, exercise, talk, and get outside. Doing so is good for the body, the soul, and relationships. Yet, sometimes, it is just so hard to prioritize.
Thus, in our family, we’ve made it “a thing.” We call it “Walk-n-Talk”.
What is a Walk-n-Talk?
A Walk-n-Talk is simply a time dedicated to getting outside, walking, and talking about a specific issue or whatever comes to mind.
My husband and I began our “Walk-n-Talks” as a way to get some exercise, fresh air, and time to talk away from the constant earshot of our children.
One night, we decided that we would set a timer for 30 minutes, tell the children we needed some exercise, ask them to call or come get us if they needed anything, and, then, head out into the starlit night to walk up and down our street—staying close to our home and making passes of it so we would know the children were okay while we also had some time for us.
This habit proved a healthy one!
Both my husband and I got some much needed regular movement; and we also had time to talk, sometimes pleasantly, sometimes with the strained conversations that can come up in a marriage.
On evenings when the latter happened, the fact that we were talking while walking truly helped. The movement released some building frustrations, and the fact that we were passing neighbor’s houses kept our voices to a reasonable level—usually.
Then, on other nights, the walking and talking under the stars was simply pleasant. It as a time for us to exercise while connecting by reminiscing, talking about our future, etc.
Whether we were in a challenged state or a cheerful one, a Walk-n-Talk between my husband and me proved fruitful.
It also proved contagious.
Often, our children would ask if they could come out to walk with us.
We told them, “Yes, but only for a lap or two.”
Then, they wanted their own Walk-n-Talk time sometimes.
So, when my husband was away for work, I took turns with our children, taking them on Walk-n-Talks, which offered them some 1:1 time with Mom.
Then, when my husband was home and our children were all clamoring for his attention, he took them on 10-minute Walk-n-Talk turns.
Likewise, when our eldest son’s ADHD issues were crescendoing, my husband and son began weighted Walk-n-Talks, finding ruck marches a help for a season of life.
Plus, occasionally, when we were at family outings, one of us took an opportunity to sneak away for a Walk-n-Talk with just one child.
I also began Walk-n-Talks with friends. When friends came over, sometimes, we let our children play in the yard while we moms did laps of our street to Walk-n-Talk, sharing issues and offering each other support and advice without worrying about what our children would overhear.
And, yes, occasionally, I even went out for Walk-n-Talks by myself—of course, not talking aloud to myself, but thinking, praying, and listening in the quiet of my soul for answers.
All these Walk-n-Talks were wonderful.
Connection, release, exercising, and relationship, of course, were all fed. So, too, was appreciation.
More than once, we found ourselves pointing to shooting stars, wowing at amazing colors as the moon rose, quieting our conversations for a moment to listen to beautiful birdsong, pausing our walks to pick a handful of tasty wild edibles, quickening our pace to follow a pretty butterfly or darling white-tailed bunny, noticing a particularly striking flower…
Indeed, each Walk-n-Talk brought its own benefits and collectively, they became a staple in our lives for regular mental health and relationship building.
And, so, they continue, not always a daily occurrence in our lives these days, but as a fairly regular one that I am thankful we make time for.